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State may sell property, buildings

MADISON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The state Administration Department has announced ten state-owned properties that could eventually be sold. The current state budget allows the administration to sell facilities which are under-used, or could make profits for taxpayers. The list includes the former Knapp House governor's mansion on the U-W Madison campus, the former Ethan Allen boys' detention center at Wales, the Northern Wisconsin Center for the developmentally-disabled at Chippewa Falls, an airplane hangar at Madison's airport, and heating-and-cooling plants which serve state facilities.

Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch stressed that the properties would only be sold if it's "prudent and logical." Seven firms will analyze the properties and their possible sale value. The sales would occur in the next two-year budget period starting in 2015, with a goal of reducing the state's debt. Some properties could be sold outright, while others might have lease-back arrangements for users.

Senate Democrat Fred Risser of Madison said the lease-back concept does not make economic sense. In his words, "It just creates a layer of middlemen who cash in on the taxpayer dollar."