NASHVILLE — Nash-Rocky Mount school board members last week discussed the status of the sale of two properties in Rocky Mount that are owned by Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.
The board previously approved the sale of the properties at 216 Tillery St. and 813 Western Ave. as surplus properties. As required by state law, these properties first were offered to Nash County for sale at fair market value. The Nash County Board of Commissioners declined to buy the properties.
For-sale signs were placed on the properties in November. An offer was made by Brant Ruben in the amount of $4,000 for the property at 216 Tillery St. Ruben also offered $4,000 for the property at 813 Western Ave.
Shannon Davis, director of maintenance for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, said the school district originally paid more for the properties.
“In 2004, the property at 216 Tillery St. originally sold for $9,500 and the property at 813 Western Ave. had a sale value of $32,000,” Davis said. “Now those buildings have been sitting there and need a lot of work. That is the reason we wanted to receive an offer and start an upset bid process.”
On Thursday, the school board rejected those bids and interim Superintendent Del Burns recommended that the board authorize staff to initiate the upset bid process with a starting bid set by the attorney. That minimum bid will be $4,250 for each property, school board attorney Rod Malone said.
Davis said he has shown the property several times recently and has seen a lot of interest shown in the property since the original bid came in.
The school board voted 10-1 to accept this recommendation with Bill Sharpe as the lone holdout.
During the discussion, Sharpe said he felt the City of Rocky Mount should be offered the opportunity to purchase the property in the same way that Nash County had.
“There are a lot of things happening inside the city that might help develop the community in that area,” Sharpe said. “So there may be plans that someone in the city could help redevelop those housing needs inside the city itself.”
Sharpe noted that the board did offer the Spaulding Elementary School site to the Town of Spring Hope when it was put up for sale. In that case, the town was already using that facility for certain functions. However, other board members noted that O.R. Pope Elementary was not offered to the City of Rocky Mount when it was sold.
Malone said that offering the properties to the city was not required by law but was allowed.
“You are not required by statute to do that — but if the board directs that, you could,” Malone said. “It would have to be offered for the fair market value. ... That may or may not be the tax value or some appraised value. With the upset bid process, wherever that ends is deemed the fair market value.”
In the end, the upset bid process remains in place and the City of Rocky Mount has the same opportunity to bid as other entities. This process may go on for some time, Malone reminded the board.
“Depending on the interest in the property, you may get a lot of minimum bids, especially as you start in this range, “ Malone said. “As the board may recall, we went through 17 or 18 rounds of bidding with Spaulding and 15 or 16 rounds with Pope. It is quite possible this could go on awhile.”