City's Ready to Part, Properly, With Its Surplus Property. And: Look Out, Payday Lenders.

We've long wondered, including just last month, why the city can't (won't?) unload its old libraries and other so-called surplus properties, and time after time City Manager Mary Suhm has said: The market's just not right. But in just a few minutes, the council's Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee will be told: We've decided to auction off the surplus properties, using Hudson & Marshall auctioneers (or, the other H&M), the very same company that helps sell off Houston's surplus properties.

This morning's briefing is particularly interesting for those Friends of Unfair Park who've asked to see a list of excess properties: The briefing contains 22 initial properties to be offered at auction -- including two downtown parking lots (on Corbin, near the West End, and on Commerce, adjacent to our old office), two former library branches (Walnut Hill and Pleasant Grove) and the old animal shelter on Forney. Me, I've always had my eye on that slice of Greenville Avenue you see up above. It'd make a great spot for a payday lender.

Oh, and speaking of...the BFA committee will also get its first look at City Attorney Tom Perkins's freshly minted ordinance regulating payday lenders. There's nothing in there about where they can do business, as previously hinted at, only how and how often. As in: "The cash advanced for a pay day loan may not exceed 20 percent of the consumer's gross monthly income." And: "An extension of consumer credit may not be payable in more than four installments."

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