Polk County seeks two firms for Lake Adger appraisal

Published 9:26 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2016

By Leah Justice


The Polk County Board of Commissioners decided to seek two firms to work together to come up with an appraisal for Lake Adger.

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Commissioners met Monday, March 21 and unanimously agreed on the search.

Commissioners agreed in January to look into selling Lake Adger and directed county manager Marche Pittman to seek an appraisal to determine what the lake is worth.

Pittman told commissioners on Monday that determining an appraisal on the lake is going to be difficult and he has spoken with three different entities that are interested.

Pittman suggested the county could either get one firm to come in and give the county one appraisal; have two firms work together and come up with one appraisal or have two firms give two separate appraisals.

Pittman said he wanted guidance from the board as to what commissioners are seeking.

“It’s a valuable asset for the county,” said Pittman. “This is our future. I don’t want to see us make a mistake.”

Commissioner Michael Gage asked if the firms will have a certain scope to look at in determining the value of the lake.

Pittman said he is trying to get a price on what it will cost the county and looking at the firms’ experience.

“You can’t just get ‘John’s appraisal service’ down the street to appraise a dam,” Pittman told commissioners.

Commissioner Shane Bradley said personally he thinks it’s a good idea to have two different appraisal firms working together for one value.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson said having two firms sounds fascinating, saying the county will likely have to look regionally for the expertise.

Pittman said he has someone coming to the county the first of April who is flying in from Florida. Pittman said when he sits down will all three firms he wants to make sure he knows what commissioners are looking for. Pittman said in appraising Lake Adger, they are going to have to look at the value of the land, the water, the power facility, the dam as well as backing out the value of whatever it will cost to repair the dam.

Pittman said in speaking to appraisers it’s not uncommon to appraise such an asset.

“It’s just a question of how much do we want to invest and what are we looking at accomplishing,” Pittman said.

No estimates on what the appraisal will cost the county were given during Monday’s meeting.

Pittman said obviously it would be cheaper to have one firm come up with one value, but two firms will be less risk.

A couple of commissioners placed an item on the agenda on Jan. 25 this year asking commissioner Gasperson what his plans are for the future of Lake Adger. During that discussion commissioner Bradley said he thinks the county needs expert advice on what the lake is worth and how easy it would be to get rid of the lake and the dam. Commissioners all agreed in January to research how to surplus the property to sell it.

Commissioner Gasperson clarified in January that he voted to research the value of the lake but doesn’t necessarily want to sell the lake.

The motion in January was for the county manager and attorney to research the value of the lake and dam, the potential of selling the lake and dam and researching potential customers who may want to purchase the lake.

Polk County agreed to purchase Lake Adger from Northbrook Carolina Hydro LLC in May 2008 for $1.6 million. The county purchased the lake for a future water source for the county and has worked with the towns on a couple of occasions since 2002 to create a joint water authority to no avail. The county also negotiated with Inman-Campobello Water District (ICWD) for a year for a partnership that would have included ICWD paying for initial dam repairs, maintaining the county’s system and installing $100,000 a year worth of water lines within Polk County in exchange for use of Lake Adger water for 75 years. ICWD pulled out of negotiations last year. The county and ICWD are still in a contract where ICWD operates Polk County’s water system and the county is still running water line extensions throughout the county to build its system. Polk is currently facing millions in required Turner Shoals Dam repairs.