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Published 8:40 am Thursday, September 29, 2011

WINTON – The letters are in the mail.

As the Hertford County Board of Commissioners weigh all options regarding the possible relocation of the new courthouse, they have began the process of learning more information about certain properties mentioned as possible building sites.

At the board’s direction, Hertford County Manager Loria Williams mailed letters to all persons/entities that have previously expressed an interest in submitting sites for consideration by the commissioners.

“This action was as a result of directions provided in closed session during the board’s Sept. 19 meeting,” Williams said.

The letter asks for information as it relates to property that they wish to submit for consideration of siting the new Hertford County Courthouse. That information includes landowner, tax PIN (Property Identification Number), the name/address/phone number of the contact person, acreage available for purchase, the cost per acre, the cost per acre with road frontage, cost per acre if the purchase involves 25 or more acres, water and sewer availability/capacity (proximity to connection, line size, connection fees, etc.) and the general topography, drainage and character (flat, hilly, open land, woods land) of the property.

“We are cognizant that certain aspects of a process of this nature could be negotiable; however, the aforementioned factors will aid the governing body in its very important task of site evaluation,” the letter stated.  “Please make every effort to provide base line information for preliminary consideration purposes.”

Williams said the letter urges the landowner to submit the requested information no later than Monday, Oct. 10.

To date, officials with the towns of Murfreesboro and Ahoskie have formally contacted county leaders in regards to certain properties that may be available should the commissioners opt to move the courthouse.

In his presentation to the commissioners during open session of the Sept. 19 board meeting, Murfreesboro Mayor John Hinton said there were several individual sites on the US 158/258 bypass, near the NC 11 intersection, with ample acreage where the owners are willing to negotiate a sale.

Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn sent a Sept. 13 letter to county officials where she promoted her town as a possible site to relocate the courthouse. Attached to that letter was information on two possible sites – (1) a 57.45 acre tract (with an appraised value of $723,136) located on NC 561 West at Frazier’s Crossroads (near the Ahoskie Inn); and (2) a 56.25 acre parcel ($155,283 appraised value) located on US 13 north of Ahoskie.

The construction of the new courthouse was initially approved by the commissioners on county-owned property within the town of Winton. However, that site has hit a few snags over the past few months, mainly due to the county commissioners and Town of Winton officials being at odds over parking problems in the area of the county’s governmental offices.

During its Aug. 15 meeting, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a motion that authorizes the county manager to explore moving the seat of government to Ahoskie and/or relocating the site of the new county courthouse to another location.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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