Trust funds used to pay liens against Mt. Union community center

By John Butters, Golden Triangle News Service


The Iowa City Development Board, a state agency that oversees the termination of a city, agreed to continue working with Henry County officials to resolve lingering difficulties regarding the disposition of Mt. Union?s Community Center.

The board has encouraged Henry County to sell the building and place the funds in trust, but the lack of a clear title has discouraged county officials from taking further action.

Board chair Dennis Plautz updated board members and Henry County officials on the board?s progress in resolving the difficulties in a telephone conference call Wednesday, July 11.

Reviewing the difficulties, Plautz said that though the city is no longer incorporated, the city of Mt. Union is named on the deed to the Community Center and that there had been liens against the property. The board agreed with the county that it needed to clear the liens and produce a clear title before the building could be offered for sale, he said.

Emily Willits from the Iowa Department of Justice said the board had taken action to clear the liens, paying $28,800 to Iowa State Bank to obtain the release of a mortgage and satisfy the bank?s attorney fees. In June, the Development Board agreed to pay a $384 special sewer assessment to Henry County for the Community Building, she said.

The money was raised from a real estate auction in Mt. Union in June of 2017 that sold city property that possessed marketable titles. The Development Board is holding proceeds from that sale in trust.

The board?s actions appear to cover all known liens against the property, but a title search by an abstract company would be needed to produce a clear title, Willits said.

Shelly Barber, Henry County Auditor, said the ball was still in the Development Board?s court.

?If they can produce a legal document giving us the legal standing to initiate a sale of the building, we can proceed,? she said.

Legal documents could include a quitclaim deed, a quiet title or a clear title to the building, Barber said.