Park St. site for DSS discussed in Polk closed session minutes

Published 1:12 pm Friday, September 10, 2010

Commissioners released closed session minutes this week that include discussions from 2008 where the past board decided to purchase two acres off Park Street in Columbus to construct a new department of social services building.

The building is now being constructed on county-owned recreation complex property in Mill Spring and has been an item of disagreement for the past few months.

The released minutes are from 2008 and 2009 when commissioners were discussing purchasing the two-acre lot off Park Street to construct a new DSS building. Commissioners in the 2008 minutes consisted of chairman Tommy Melton, vice-chairman Harry Denton and commissioners Tom Pack, Ted Owens and Warren Watson. Commissioners in 2009 consisted of the current board: chair Cindy Walker, then vice-chair Warren Watson and commissioners Ray Gasperson, Rene McDermott and Tommy Melton.

Following are the minutes released on Monday night:

Closed session- Sept., 22, 2008

Present: Chairman Melton, Vice-Chairman Denton, Commissioners Owens, Pack and Watson. County Attorney Hix, County Manager Whitson, Clerk to the Board Anne Britton, and Planner Cathy Ruth.

Acquisition of Property There was much discussion over the Jervey Palmer building and where to house DSS, Senior Center and Mental Health. Mr. Whitson had looked into the Carolina Classical School for the Senior Center. It would not have to be rezoned. It was the consensus of the board to authorize Mr. Whitson to negotiate a price of $850,000, not to exceed 1 million. The asking price is 1.6 million. The 2-acre property in Columbus was also discussed and Mr. Whitson would negotiate starting at $80,000. ($110,000 asking price). Commissioners Watson and Pack liked both properties. Mr. Denton was opposed to these properties and suggested purchasing 15 acres off Fox Mountain Road. A building big enough for all three agencies could be provided there with (2) 5 acre tracks for future growth for the county. Andy Haynes, Attorney, was recommended to handle the real estate.

Closed session-Oct. 20, 2008

Present: Chairman Melton, Vice-Chairman Denton, Commissioners Owens, Pack and Watson. Others in attendance were County Manager Ryan Whitson, Attorney Tom Hix, and Clerk to the Board, Anne Britton.

Acquisition of Property

1. Mr. Whitson was authorized by the Board to counter offer the 2 acres in

Columbus and the Carolina Classical School. $87.5 offer on the 2 acres and

$1.2M for the Carolina Classical School buildings and all the property.

Closed session- Nov. 17, 2008

Present: Chairman Melton, Vice-Chairman Denton, Commissioners Owens, Pack and Watson. County Manager Ryan Whitson, County Attomey Tom Hix and Clerk to the Board Anne Britton.

Chairman Melton called the meeting to order.

Acquisition of Property -the 2 acre property in Columbus off Hwy. 108 was discussed. The property was appraised at $112,500 and Mr. Whitson negotiated it down from $115,000 to $95,000. Vice-Chairman Denton was opposed to purchasing and recommended the new board make the decision. Mr. Whitson warned that the Jervey Palmer building was in bad shape. Commissioner Pack thought the property was an asset because it was in the county and zoned for county offices.

There was also a discussion over a DSS/Mental Health facility at the Recreation Park. Commissioner Melton recommended considering the Recreation Park. He felt the 2 acre lot was not big enough for a DSS facility.

Commissioner Watson likes the location of the 2 acre property. He agrees that a DSS building needs to be built in a year. The Mental Health needs to be at the hospital. He is not happy with the Fox Mountain property or the Recreation Park for the DSS building.

Commissioner Owens made a motion to return to Open Session, seconded by Commissioner Pack and the motion carried unanimously.

Closed session-Jan.5, 2009

Present: Chairperson Walker, Vice-Chairperson Watson, Commissioners Gasperson, McDermott, and Melton. Also present were County Manager Ryan Whitson, County Attorney Tom Hix and Clerk to the Board Anne Britton.

Acquisition of Property -Commissioner Melton discussed the 2 acre Park Street property and the sewer issues. Discussion followed and it was the consensus of the Board to request a 45 day extension of contract. This would allow time to investigate the cost of utilities before the closing.

Vice-Chairperson Watson made a motion to return to open session, seconded by Commissioner McDermott and the motion carried unanimously.

Closed session- Oct. 6, 2008

Present: Chairman Melton, Vice-Chairman Denton, Commissioners Owens, Pack and Watson. County Manager Whitson, County Attorney, Hix, and Clerk to the Board, Anne Britton.

Acquisition of Property -Mr. Whitsons offered $70,000 for the 2 acre lot in Columbus. They did not make a counter offer.

2. Mr. Whitson authorized to offer $80,000 to $85,000 for that property.

3. Mr. Whitson authorized to offer $850,000 for the Carolina School plus 6 acres and/or $1.1 for everything.

Commissioner Watson thought $1.3 maximum.

Mr. Hix discussed Ricks Mountain the Settlement Agreement and Release.