Thursday, January 5, 2023

Trustees approve sale of township properties

The 9.32-acre of commercially zoned property adjacent to the former medical center on Sumpter Road has been sold to Kurtis Myers for $65,000.

Myers was the only bid remaining for the land following the withdrawal of a bid from Trustee Don LaPorte. Bids for the land were submitted to the township through the Moving the Mitten real estate agency. The acceptance, during a special meeting Dec. 19, followed several months of discussion and debate regarding the value of the property. During the Dec. 13 meeting, the board members discussed an offer of $60,000 from LaPorte and a “best and final offer” from Myers presented as “$5,000 above the best offer, not to exceed $67,500.”

During year-long discussion regarding the sale of the property, adjacent property owner Corey Blue protested the manner in which the property was marketed. Blue claimed at several previous meetings that he had inquired about purchasing the land but was told it was not for sale. Following sometimes heated discussion at several meetings, trustees subsequently listed the property for sale with the professional real estate company.

The property was professionally appraised twice at values of $75,000 and $78,000 respectively. LaPorte submitted an offer in November of $60,000 while Myers submitted a bid of $55,000, explaining that his bid was lowered as one acre of the property was unusable.   

Trustee Peggy Morgan told the board members that the bidding process was “confusing” and that she was not in favor of the sale. She suggested the township keep the land until a more attractive bid and use for the site might arise.

Trustee Matt Oddy was also critical of the sale and the November bid process. He suggested that LaPorte and Myers be instructed to put their bids in a sealed envelope and submit them to township hall where they could be opened during a public meeting. He also objected to the bid prices offered, noting that the two appraisals, for which the township paid, were higher than either bid submitted.

“We sold the medical center and it's still there collecting dust,” Oddy told the trustees.

Treasurer Bart Patterson disagreed. He said he felt these were valid offers and that real estate values had changed since last June when the appraisals were complete. He agreed that the board members could reject all offers and keep the land but that the offers from LaPorte and Myers were 80 and 86-percent of the appraised value, respectively.

“With inflation and everything going on, we should take the money and run. Our goal was to sell. I say, go with the $65,000 and call it a day,” advised Trustee Tim Rush. He made a formal motion to accept the $65,000 Myers' offer which failed due to a tie vote of the board members. LaPorte recused himself to avoid any conflict-of-interest implications while Morgan, Oddy and Clerk Esther Hurst cast no votes. Rush, Patterson and Supervisor Tim Bowman voted in favor of the offer.

Board members agreed to Oddy's suggestion asking bidders to submit final sealed offers including any contingencies to township hall for a public opening. On the advice of township attorney Rob Young, the special meeting to discuss the bids was set Dec. 19. During that meeting, trustees accepted the bid from Myers.

LaPorte did not submit a final offer for consideration.

The board members also approved the sale last month of a 14.62 acre parcel on Martinsville Road. The trustees accepted an offer of $95,000 from Clifton and Heidi Whitehouse for the land which had been appraised at $100,000 with a $5,000 real estate fee added. The purchase price was estimated at $95 percent of the appraised value, trustees said.