Selah scrambles to pay for $4 million real estate debt

Selah scrambles to pay for $4 million real estate debt
SELAH, Wash. -- Selah taxpayers are digging the city out of what could be millions-of-dollars in debt.

"I just think it's messed up, you know," Mike Dudd said.

The city purchased dozens of acres of property near the railroad years ago. The plan, to build a city building.

Only after, the city learned Homeland Security prohibits city buildings from being built so close to railroads.

The city eventually sold some portions of the property to businesses like Les Schwab. The rest are slated to be listed with a commercial realtor. However, Selah still owes $4 million on the properties.

Now, the city plans to sell surplus properties around town to make up for the loss. The city recently identified five different properties it plans to sell for a total of roughly $400,000.

"Well, we're obviously going to be very budget conscious," Mayor John Gawlik said.

The recent budget included an increase in Selah's utility to keep the city afloat.

Mike says it was something he wasn't too happy about.

However, he says he is pleased with the new administrations transparency.

"They're trying to be accountable. You know with the new administration coming and new mayor it's not going to happen overnight," Mike said.

REPORTER: "Digging up these surplus properties will help, but of course it's never going to equal the substantial loss."

MAYOR: "No, no it will not."

A hard pill to swallow, transparent or not.