PRIMGHAR—O’Brien County may consider selling a piece of property it possesses in its biggest city.
County attorney Rachael Becker and engineer Scott Rinehart met with the board of supervisors on Tuesday, Aug. 13, in Primghar to talk about the buildings and land that Rinehart’s office owns at 1220 Second Ave. in Sheldon.
Becker said she has talked to several other county attorneys from across the region about their processes for selling public real estate.
“I had trouble finding people who had because a lot of times you don’t often sell county property,” she said.
Becker talked about Iowa Code Section 331.361, which deals with selling county property.
“We would have to draft a resolution for a proposal that the property be deemed excess or surplus property,” she said. “Then what we would do is we would have to set a public hearing so then people could comment.
“After the public hearing, then you would need to pass another resolution, which would find that the property is surplus or excess, and you would state how you would pass the title,” she said. “You would also set the method of sale.”
Becker said the county would have “an array of options” to choose from as far as methods for selling its property, such as holding an auction or accepting sealed bids.
“If you use an auctioneer or a real estate agent — because you could also list it — you’d have to consider the costs of them and I’m not sure what those would be,” she said.
Becker told the supervisors that they should consider how they would accept any payment for property the county sells and when the buyer would be able to acquire the title for the real estate that is sold.
“Whatever you want, we’ll try and make it happen,” she said. “Depending on what you decide, it can go different ways.”
County auditor Barb Rohwer said there was no abstract on file for the property in Sheldon that the county may consider selling.
“Nothing’s been done since the ’30s and ’40s on it,” she said. “We never received an abstract.”
Rohwer said the county could obtain an abstract for the real estate in question in a couple of weeks at a cost of $400-$600.
Becker recommended the county get an abstract for the property before moving forward with selling the real estate.
“It just depends on how y’all would like to do it — how quickly you’re wanting to try and get it going, but also how careful you want to be along the way,” she said.
Supervisor Dan Friedrichsen asked how much of a hurry the county was in to sell the property.
“There’s somebody that’s really interested in it,” Rinehart said.
The 1.48-acre property 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 property to the county in 2008 for about $68,000.
Rinehart asked the supervisors what would happen to the real estate if it did not end up being sold.
“What are you going to do with it?” he said. “Just keep putting money into it? It’s not an asset of any kind that I can determine.”