A month after the Sampson County Board of Commissioners was told there was no interest shown in a county-owned property on West Carter Street, the board was informed this week of the submission of a $2,500 bid that would more than pay for a maintenance bill from the city of Clinton.
Alfonza H. Williamson submitted the bid following last months’ meeting for the 0.26 acres adjoining 400 West Carter St. and 406 West Carter St. The board accepted the bid during its regular meeting Monday and initiated the upset bid process, in which another bidder can trump the bid and the bidding can continue.
“We had received a couple other phone calls but no other bids,” said assistant county manager Susan Holder.
The Board of Commissioners decided in December to forgo handing a piece of property on West Carter Street over to the city to pay a maintenance bill, in favor of selling it. Last month, commissioners were told there had been no public interest shown in the small lot. That changed just days later, on Jan. 10, when a bid was submitted by Williamson.
Sampson County is faced with a bill in excess of $1,500 for maintenance on the lot.
While preparing to bill an absentee landlord for that cost late last year, city staff discovered that the lot was not abandoned but actually belonged to the county. The city has maintained the lot under their nuisance lot procedures for a considerable amount of time, incurring a cost of $1,468.44 in the process — that cost has inflated to $1,545.48.with interest.
The county board considered conveyance of the small lot to the city as a way of payment in November, before tabling the matter until December. The options were to pay the bill straight up, give the lot as payment or try to sell the lot. The county chose the last of those options, unanimously authorizing staff to declare the lot surplus and move forward with the process of selling the lot, setting a minimum price tag of $2,000.
Williamson’s bid satisfies the minimum requirement and will now be subject to the upset bid process.
Through that procedure, public notice of each new bid is published and a period of 10 days to raise the bid given. If the bid is raised within the 10 days, the procedure begins again with another notice published. N.C. law states the new bid must be no less than 10 percent of the first $1,000 of the old bid and 5 percent of the remainder.
Williamson will owe 5 percent of his bid amount as a deposit, which will be returned should he be outbid.
“Once the board agrees to accept the offer, he will be required to come back and write us a check for that deposit,” said Holder.
In December, commissioner Jefferson Strickland said the county should at least try to take advantage of an opportunity for additional revenue through publicly bidding the property. The lot was foreclosed on by the county several years ago and was sold, but conveyed back to the county, indicating a possible problem with the foreclosure — that was done in 1989.
The lot, reportedly valued at $4,200, was essentially lost in the mix until found late last year as belonging to the county.
Some county officials previously expressed concerns with the hole the county might dig for itself should the property be advertised and receive no bids. Tax administrator Jim Johnson said the size of the lot was a main reason he was leery of the county trying to sell it and Attorney Annette Starling pointed to the costs brought on by advertising a lot, which would only be added to the amount already owed to the city.
That appears to be a moot point now, as the county will net at least $2,500, minus the cost to advertise the property.
Strickland made a motion that the bid be accepted and directed county staff to advertise the bid for upset. The initial bidder shall be sold the property if no upset bid is submitted within the 10-day period after the county advertises the initial bid and property sale.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.