Town explores options

Published 11:37 pm Monday, July 21, 2014

AHOSKIE – Now that the town of Ahoskie has received the property deed to 223 and 225 Main Street, the Town Council voted at their July meeting to advertise it for sale.

Mrs. Alverta Bonds of Brooklyn, New York gifted the property to the town earlier this year after deciding not to make needed repairs due to the prohibitive high cost of such an undertaking.

Two of the options the Council had to consider with the property were either demolition due to its dilapidated state or putting it up for sale.

“It’s been recorded and now belongs to the town of Ahoskie, and per the general statutes (NCGS 160A-266) the town can do what it deems appropriate with this particular piece of property,” said Town Manager Tony Hammond.

Hammond told Council there were some individuals, whom he did not name, who do renovations of buildings on Main Street and that they were interested in purchasing the property. These individuals had not, however, according to Hammond, made an offer on the buildings.

“They just expressed an interest to buy it,” he explained. “Once they do that then we go out and get the offers and advertise them for the upset bids.”

Town Attorney W. Hugh “Buddy” Jones interjected that the town need not advertise until they were in a position to accept an initial offer to buy the property, thus making it subject to upset bids.

“I don’t think you need to advertise before the Council proposes to accept somebody’s offer,” Jones stated. “I think the thing to do now is to get an offer.”

Councilwoman Linda Blackburn asked if there was a time frame for this process.

“I mean we did get reports to this Council that the building was ready to fall at any moment, and now we just keep going along,” Blackburn said.  “We could put a time frame on it.”

She was reminded that there does remain the option to demolish the buildings.

Jones said the area in front of the building is now cordoned off.

“If somebody bought it,” Jones began, “I think we could have stipulations in the transaction papers that they have to do certain things within a certain period of time.”

Blackburn said she was still concerned about the building’s tenuous state.

“If it goes, we’re responsible,” she warned. “And it looks like it could still go. I’d like to see some sort of time frame; let’s move it along and get rid of those barriers.”

Hammond said once an offer is received he would work with Jones on getting something in writing.

Mayor Brien Lassiter suggested following Jones’ recommendation of receiving an initial first bid and then advertise for upset bids.

Councilman Charles Freeman proposed beginning with a starting sale price ($5,000), at which time Council was informed of the property’s tax value of $29,896.00

“You might get 10 percent of that,” Jones cautioned. “I would suggest the Town Manager receive an offer of at least $2,500 and then direct (Hammond) to advertise for upset bids.”

Freeman made a motion of the Town Manager receiving a starting bid price of no less than $2,500, seconded by Councilman Rev. C. David Stackhouse.

Lassiter clarified the motion that once the initial bid is received then the town would advertise for upset bids until all upset bids are exhausted.  Once a final bid was reached, that figure would be submitted to Council for approval or not.

The motion was passed unanimously.