Bertie Schools property for sale

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 22, 2007

WINDSOR – A controversial chapter in the history book of Bertie County will soon be closed.

The Bertie County Board of Education has officially listed its property and single family residence located at 429 White Oak Road near Windsor with a real estate agency and is seeking a buyer.

That property and single-story dwelling has been at the center of controversy since construction began during the 2003-04 school year. At that time the Bertie County Board of Commissioners were not made aware of the pending construction. The commissioners are responsible for supplying the local school system with general capital outlay funds, money earmarked for such projects.

During the 2003-04 fiscal year, the Bertie Commissioners budgeted $375,000 in capital outlay funds to the Bertie Board of Education. They budgeted the same amount the following fiscal year. Since there was no information supplied by Bertie Schools in regards to constructing a house on White Oak Road, it was widely believed funds were diverted from the capital outlay money over two budget years to purchase the property and build the home.

It was later learned that the residence would be used as housing in order to attract new teachers to the Bertie school district. Even though it was fully furnished, the $130,000 residence was never used as teacher housing.

Once the Bertie Board of Education declared the property no longer suitable or necessary for public school purposes, it began the process for disposal.

According to a March 1 letter sent to Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb from Dr. Michael Priddy, Interim Superintendent, Bertie County Schools is required by board policy and state statutes to formally extend the Bertie County Commissioners the first opportunity to purchase the property at fair market price. That price has been set at $169,900.

Dr. Priddy’s letter went on to say that if the county is not interested in purchasing the property, the Bertie Board of Education is poised to place it on the market.

The Bertie Commissioners met Monday night where the issue was on the agenda. Commissioner Norman Cherry Sr. said he saw no need by the county for that property and motioned to authorize the school board to move forward with selling the land and residence. That motion passed without objection, but was soon after amended to include a comment made by Commissioner L.C. Hoggard III.

Basing his opinion on the diversion of money four years ago, Hoggard asked if there could be a stipulation in the sale of the property from where the proceeds could be placed back into capital outlay funds and be used for improvements for the athletic facilities, in particular the bleachers at the Bertie High School football stadium.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Rick Harrell suggested that the county follow through on Hoggard’s recommendation by sharing those thoughts to Dr. Priddy by way of a letter.

Meanwhile, the school board has notified Triple A and Associates, a Windsor based real estate firm, to represent the school system in the disposal of the property.

According to law dealing with the disposal of county property, the sale will be by upset bid. Basically, that means an interested buyer can place a bid on the property (plus pay a deposit) and that amount becomes the first offer. The bid is valid for a period of 10 days and the amount will be published in a newspaper of record. Within that 10-day period, another individual or firm can enter a higher bid, which becomes the official offer. This bidding method continues until one offer stands alone after a period of 10 days.