This section is from the book "Practical Real Estate Methods For Broker, Operator & Owner", by Thirty Experts. Also available from Amazon: Practical Real Estate Methods for Broker, Operator, Owner.
The mode of appointing commissioners as now provided should be changed and entirely removed from politics. The power of appointment should rest with some reputable body of sound hard-headed business men like the Chamber of Commerce or some similar body or organization. The city should be divided in sections, like south of 14th Street, East Side; south of 14th Street, West Side; 14th Street to 59th Street, East Side; same on the West Side; 110th Street, East Side; same on West Side; 110th Street on East Side to Harlem River; West Side to West 150th Street; Washington Heights; Bronx. Three, six, nine or twelve commissioners could be appointed to each district as the improvements might warrant or according to the population. Each commission should be comprised of three men, the chairman being a member of the bar at a salary of $10,000 per year; the other two members should receive $7,500, and be appointed for a term of years, during their usefulness to the community or until they arrive at the age of seventy years. They should hold sessions every day in the week except Saturday and Sunday, and for the same number of hours that court is now held by the justices of the Supreme Court. These Commissioners should act only in case of a dispute between the City and the owner of the property the City is about to take. All property should be purchased within sixty days from the day it is selected for a public improvement and paid for on the day on which the title is vested in the City.
The price should be arrived at by two or three real estate experts making their appraisals for the City and finally agreeing on an amount among themselves as proper to pay for the property. This amount should be paid on the day of taking title; and if the amount is not acceptable to the owner, he should be allowed to accept this amount as part payment and go before one of these sets of commissioners, according to the district, and prove the value of his property, and endeavor to get the difference between his figures and the amount he has been paid. An example, for instance, would be: The owner's value is $200,000; the City pays $150,000. The owner goes before the commissioners to secure the difference, or $50,000. In this manner, the owner has $150,000 in cash that he can use immediately; and only $50,000, or whatever amount he is awarded, is tied up for an indefinite time, and drawing interest from the time of taking title up to the date of payment of award at 6% as now provided.