New plan saves nearly $500,000

Published 10:16 am Monday, October 24, 2016

WINTON – Sometimes, even the best plans are cast aside, especially when they result in saving a bundle of money.

Over the course of several past meetings of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners, the issue of constructing a maintenance shop / storage facility on the grounds of the new Hertford County Courthouse has been discussed.

Earlier this month, John Farkas of JKF Architecture presented a formal plan to the commissioners for such a facility. In his proposal, Farkas said a 4,935 square foot shop could be built for $611,736. Add in the contingency funds required for such a project and other “soft costs”, the bottom line came to $661,210.

Plus there was an extended timetable on seeing the end result of that proposal – six months to design and seven months worth of construction.

The commissioners did not cast a vote on that plan at their Oct. 3 meeting, deciding rather to explore other options.

It now appears that decision to wait will save the county nearly a half-million dollars.

At their most recent meeting on Oct. 17, the commissioners agreed to purchase an existing building to serve the same purpose. The total price is $185,000.

As laid out by Murfreesboro attorney Charles “Chuck” Revelle III, who serves as legal counsel for the county, the newest proposal is for the county to a three-acre lot and building located in the Hertford County Industrial Park across from the EMS building. The purchase price of the land and building is $165,000 plus $20,000 worth of equipment that will be left in the building as outlined in the purchase contract.

That property and building is currently owned by Ray Kelly Adams and his wife, Constance Adams.

Revelle praised the commissioners for doing their due diligence on this issue, and thus saved hundred of thousands of taxpayer dollars in the process.

“Part of your duties as a commissioner is to look at alternatives, and carefully negotiate when the county is looking to acquire property or construct a building,” said Revelle. “This contract is exactly that….a result of exploration of alternatives and a lengthy negotiation. This contract has been approved by the seller, Mr. Adams. Your role is to be good stewards of the county’s money and carefully study any long-range plans for the county that require the spending of taxpayer dollars.”

Revelle mentioned that the deal required a $5,000 down payment and Adams wishes to have 30 days to close the deal as well as to remove his tools and other personal items from the building.

As noted in the contract, Adams has a dog pen on the back of the property and he is asking for 90 days to have that removed.

As far as to what equipment will be left in the building (items that the county is purchasing for $20,000), they include a bulldozer, a Long Model 610 farm tractor (complete with a bush hog, scraper blade, fertilizer spreader, scoop blade, boom pole and tiller), an air compressor, two welders, and three trailers.

“We had to revisit the issue of building a maintenance shop because a new one we had talked about (in previous meetings) came in at over $650,000,” said Commission Chairman Ronald Gatling. “By looking at alternatives, we have gotten that down to $185,000. When you look at the bottom line, that’s a savings of more than $450,000.”

Commissioner Curtis Freeman offered a motion to approve the purchase agreement contract. On a second from Commissioner Bill Mitchell and a unanimous vote of the board, the deal was approved.    

“I just want the senior citizens in our audience tonight (a group there to rally for support of the county finding a new site for the Ahoskie Nutrition Site as reported in Thursday’s edition), this deal has nothing to do with finding a new location for the nutrition site,” noted Freeman. “It’s two different pots of money. The money for the maintenance shop is coming from our Enterprise Fund.”

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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