Town of Westfield - Real Property Acquisition (2019M-119)

Issued Date
November 22, 2019

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether Town officials properly acquired real property for a Town purpose.

Key Findings

  • Although the purchase of property for historical preservation is legally allowed, Town officials did not use a thorough process.
  • Town officials expended $361,000 acquiring property for historical preservation. At the time of purchase, the property had an estimated full market value of $243,000.

Key Recommendations

  • Use a thorough process that fully considers all suitable options and long-term implications prior to the acquisition of property.
  • Obtain one or more independent appraisals on real property the Town intends to purchase or sell to help ensure the price is reasonable.

Town officials disagreed with our findings and recommendations. Appendix B includes our comment on an issue raised in the Town’s response.