Spencer board to put fire station up for bids
By Steve Huffman
SPENCER ó Members of the Spencer Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday to put the town’s former fire station back up for sale.
The building is located at 118 Fourth St.
When the board met in August, it appeared that Ken and Teresa Bean, owners of Spencer Home Supply, were going to purchase the old fire station for the bargain price of $10,000. They were the only ones to submit a Request for Proposal through the Centralina Council of Governments.
The town was looking to sell the property providing it be used as an active business in order to generate revenue and relieve the municipality of the expense of upkeep. A public hearing concerning the Beans’ bid ó which included a plan to refurbish the property ó was scheduled for September.
But Spencer officials said the bid process fell apart when information supplied the town by representatives of Centralina Council of Governments proved wrong. Town leaders said they were led to believe they could accept any bid as long as the high bidder went through the property bid process. But they said they were later told they couldn’t accept a bid that wasn’t closer to the building’s appraised value.
The structure has been appraised for about $70,000, though recent damage to flooring may cause that price to drop, town officials said.
On Tuesday, during their monthly meeting, aldermen voted unanimously to re-advertise the building for bids. Money eventually received for the former fire department, they agreed, will go toward renovation of the library in Library Park.
Aldermen said the sealed bids must come before the board for approval and a 10-day upset-bid-period process. Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Morris said the process is a statutory procedure the board has to follow when disposing of surplus property.
During a public comment period at Tuesday’s meeting, Kenneth Walters, a Raleigh resident who owns several properties in Spencer, referred to the “fiasco” that occurred “when my friends (the Beans) tried to buy” the old fire station.
Walters said he was “prepared to buy today and close by Friday” on the property providing the town would sell it to him for the same price the Beans were going to pay.
Aldermen have said on several occasions they can’t respond to an individual’s questions during the public comment session of their meetings and they didn’t answer Walters directly. It was later that Morris said “statutory procedure” must be followed when selling the building.
Aldermen said the time frame for the acceptance of bids for the building’s sale will be advertised in the Post.
In other matters handled at Tuesday’s meeting, aldermen:
– Heard from Beth Nance, chairman of the Hometown Holidays committee. She presented a banner ó blue with a white snowflake and the word “Welcome” ó that will replace the “Spencer 1905” banners that now line Salisbury Avenue in downtown.
Nance said the committee will pay for the banners. Board members agreed that public works employees will install them.
– Gave blessings to representatives of Ramsay Burgin Smith Architects providing a structural evaluation of the library in Library Park for a fee of $2,000. Board members had previously given Town Manager Larry Smith permission to contract an architectural firm to provide the evaluation at such a price.
If the firm has to hire a structural engineer to complete the evaluation, aldermen would first approve additional funding for the project.
– Heard a progress report from Tracy Aitken, chairman of the Spencer Partnership.
– Delayed a ban on front-yard parking until it can be determined how the ban will be implemented.
– Welcomed Jeff Bumgarner, the new director of public works, who was introduced by Town Manager Smith.