O’Brien County looks to sell Sheldon land

The O’Brien County supervisors have taken a step toward selling a piece of property the county owns in Sheldon. The real estate in question is located at 1220 Second Ave. — along the west side of old Highway 60 — and is used by the county engineer’s office.

PRIMGHAR—O’Brien Coun­­ty has taken a step to­­ward selling a piece of property it possesses in its largest community.

County attorney Rachael Becker updated the board of supervisors on Aug. 20 in Primghar on the buildings and land that county engineer Scott Rinehart’s office owns at 1220 Second Ave. in Sheldon.

She asked the supervisors whether they were ready to declare the county’s Sheldon real estate as surplus property and schedule a hearing for public comment.

“I did speak to the sheriff’s office and the sheriff’s office did state that they would be willing to help us if you wanted to go with a public-type auction or if you wanted to do sealed bids,” Becker said. “They would be able to advertise it for you the way that they typically advertise for a sheriff’s sale.”

She noted the sheriff’s office posts public notices for its real estate sales at the county courthouse in Primghar, at the U.S. Post Office in the community where the property for sale is located and on its website and Facebook page.

County auditor Barb Rohwer noted notices of any sales of county-owned property would have to be published in the county’s official legal newspapers.

Becker also mentioned the sheriff’s office recommended setting a minimum bid level.

“At that public hearing is when y’all would decide whether you want to find it as surplus, how you want to sell it, when you want to sell it,” Becker said.

Rohwer asked whether the “worst-case scenario” for the county would be receiving the abstract for the real estate and finding out that the county does not own the property.

“That’s about the worst-case scenario,” Becker said.

“Then you don’t have to worry about selling it,” Rinehart said.

Becker reminded the supervisors that for the county to sell its Sheldon real estate, it has to be deemed as surplus property, and members of the public must have a chance to comment.

Supervisor Dan Friedrichsen asked Rinehart whether the property in question should be declared as surplus and Rinehart said it should.

“It’s not bleeding us much, but it’s not doing us any good either,” Rinehart said.

The 1.48-acre Sheldon real estate is home to a large maintenance building with seven garage doors, a couple of smaller sheds and a concrete bunker. The county engineer’s office stores a spray truck, a couple of pumps and other miscellaneous equipment inside the maintenance building during the winter.

The Iowa Department of Transportation sold the Sheldon property — located along the west side of old Highway 60 — to the county in 2008 for about $68,000.

The supervisors scheduled a public hearing for 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, to determine whether to deem the real estate as surplus property and whether to establish when and how to sell it.