• 86°

School sewer systems declared surplus

WINDSOR – Bertie County School Board officials took the initial steps to rid themselves of two wastewater treatment plants here Tuesday.

During their regular meeting, board members voted to declare the wastewater treatment facilities at the former C.G. White High School in Powellsville and Askewville More-at-Four and Preschool as surplus property. In addition, they will offer the property to the Bertie County Commissioners at fair market value.

The board began discussing the property last month when Maintenance Director Matthew Bond suggested closing or selling the plants rather than continue to spend money to pay for testing.

At the time, board members asked Bond to speak to Powellsville Mayor Thomas Asbell and Askewville Mayor John Pierce to see if the towns would be interested in purchasing the sewer facilities.

Tuesday, Bond said both towns had expressed interest in taking on the wastewater treatment plants and asked that the board set a price and payment schedule for the town commissions to review.

Board member Alton Parker said he believed the property had to be first offered to the county commissioners and Board Attorney Rod Malone said it had to be declared surplus and offered to the local government entity.

“You can sell it to another government entity at fair market value,” Malone said. “If the commissioners decided they wanted the facilities they would have to purchase it as well.”

Board Chair Gloria Lee asked if the commissioners would have to pay a price set by the board and Malone said it would be fair market value.

Board member Pamela Chamblee asked if the school board could, in anticipation of the commissioners not wanting the property, go ahead and set a value for the towns to review.

Malone said it was possible.

Board members then reviewed documentation showing the tax value of the property.

The site in Askewville has two parcels that total just under $39,000 in tax value for slightly more than 12 acres while the C.G. White site has 35 acres and is valued at approximately $30,000.

Parker said he was concerned about the difference in value and about selling the larger site for less than the smaller one.

Malone said the board would be within its rights to ask the towns to have the sites appraised and then share that information with the school board. All parties could then reach a mutual agreement for fair market value, assuming the commissioners did not purchase the property.

The board attorney also said the law required the school district to sell for fair market value, but it could make the payment terms favorable for the towns by extending it over several years.

Chamblee moved to declare the two systems surplus and make the offer to the county commissioners. The board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Lee and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debbie Harris-Rollins were to take the information to Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb and/or County Commission Chairman L.C. Hoggard III.