OZAB funds released

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 9, 2007

WINDSOR – Some said it couldn’t be done, but it has.

County attorney Lloyd Smith informed the Bertie County Commissioners on Monday that the release deeds for the J.P. Law and Askewville Elementary facilities had been received.

Several weeks ago, the Bank of America determined that it could indeed release the two facilities from their QZAB agreement.

The county received the deeds on September 27 and they were recorded in the Register of Deeds office the same day.

&uot;Now we have to send a letter to the school board telling them they have 45 days to reacquire the property,&uot; Smith explained.

By law, the Bertie Board of Education (BOE) will have the opportunity to buy the facilities back from the county for $100 apiece.

If they choose to exercise that right, they will then have to turn around and offer the county the first right to purchase the property at fair market value.

Renovations to the two former schools were done in 2005 using QZAB funds. Shortly thereafter, the BOE voted to close the schools.

It had been previously thought that the schools would be unable to be used for any purpose other than educational as per the terms of the QZAB loans.

However, the schools couldn’t be used for educational purposes, either, because of a federal ruling that forbid it as a result of a 40-year desegregation suit against the county’s school system.

With the release of the facilities from the Bank of America, they are free to be disposed of or used for other purposes.