Lansing Post Office building and property now under county’s control

Published 7:33 am Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Lansing Post Office and 12 other properties in Mower County have been forfeited to the state and are now under the county’s control.

The county is currently acting as the property owner for the Lansing Post Office.

The Lansing Post Office is still operating as normal, and the U.S. Postal Service is making lease payments to the county. Many post offices are privately owned with the postal service paying a lease on the building, Mower County Auditor-Treasurer Doug Groh said.

The building will be sold at auction sometime this year, along with the other forfeited properties.

The former property owner failed to pay property taxes on the building. The property owner could have requested a confession of judgment. Groh is required to accept that request. Under a confession of judgment, a payment plan is set up for the property owner to keep the forfeited property. The property owners must pay one-tenth of the overdue property taxes each year and pay his or her yearly taxes on time in order to keep the property.

The former owner of the Lansing Post Office did not file a confession of judgment in the necessary period, but Groh said he could go before the Mower County Board of Commissioners to request them redeem the property before the property is auctioned off or if it doesn’t sell.

Groh said a bank hasn’t been forfeited in Mower County during his time as auditor-treasurer or during the tenure of his predecessor.

A total of 13 properties will be sold at the auction, along with nine properties that didn’t sell at previous auctions. Four of the 13 properties have structures, and one or two of those structures will likely be torn down before the sale, Groh said.

Two forfeited properties — one in Waltham and one in northeast Austin — require significant clean up. After the properties were vacated, people broke in and used the properties for parties and other activities.

The expense to clean the buildings could total more than $1,000, Groh said. The county also has to maintain the properties with things like snow removal and mowing.

“It’s an expense for the county,” Groh said.

However, many of those costs are reduced because people in the Mower County Sentence to Service Program work to clean up and maintain the properties.

“Without them doing that, it would have cost the tax payers a lot of money,” Groh said thanking the Sentence to Service workers.