The Monroe County Board of Supervisors decided to reject both bids on two parcels of abandoned railroad property near Hiteman. One piece of property is about four acres and the other about two acres of railroad right of way sitting between land owned by Josh and Jody Buckingham one one side and Ed Williams and Kenny Williams on the other.
The property went to a tax sale and then the county gained ownership by a tax sale certificate. The property is land-locked and currently accessible only to the property owners.
According to Auditor Amanda Harlan, all of the surrounded property owners were contacted about the sale and the sale was published in the newspaper. The county set a minimum bid to cover publication costs and legal fees.
Josh Buckingham was at the meeting along with Wayne Williams, representing his mother’s land interests. His son, Kenny, also owns land in the immediate area.
Two sealed bids were presented by the 9:30 a.m. deadline, but Wayne Williams said he misunderstood the letter from the county, believing it to be an open bid process. Monroe County Attorney John Pabst said the letter, along with the public notice was clear that the board of supervisors were taking sealed bids and those bids needed to be submitted by 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 3.
The two bids submitted were from Josh and Jody Buckingham for the two-acre parcel adjoining their land. Their bid was for $200. Country Sunset Holdings, LLC of Melrose, owned by David Zelenka, submitted bids for both parcels, one for $620 and the other for $508.
After the bids were opened, Supervisor John Hughes asked Zelenka what he intended to do with the property and Zelenka said it could be used for hunting, or perhaps timber the property. Hughes pressed him about his being unable to access the property and Zelenka said he could possibly get an easement from the adjoining landowners.
Neither Buckingham or Williams spoke.
“My view is that these people (Williams and Buckingham) have been taking care of this land for years,” said Supervisor John Hughes. “My feeling is that we reject all bids.” Hughes turned that into a motion and it passed unanimously.
The board granted access to the HVAC renovation server to be used to monitor thermostats. Auditor Amanda Harlan and Treasurer Peggy Vanden Burg had some concerns with internet security because of use of the internet for the election, but a visit with the county’s IT consultant eased those concerns. The company putting in the new heating and air conditioning system needs access to monitor problems with the system. If something would go wrong needing a technician to attend to the heating and cooling system, with internet monitoring, that technician would know what to look for prior to arriving for the repair.
The board approved a two-year contract extension agreement with the Secondary Road Union (AFSCME Local 1396).
The two-year agreement contains an annual wage increase of 2.25 percent each year and also removes all prohibited subjects from the contract per legislative changes made in 2017. The prohibited subjects as set forth in the law are insurance, transfer procedures, evaluation procedures, reduction in force procedures, supplemental pay, dues checkoff, political payroll deductions, PAC deductions, political activity deductions, leaves of absence for political activities and subcontracting.
The board is still negotiating with the law enforcement union.
The board approved allowing Chariton Valley Rural Electric access through the courthouse lawn to set up a ChargePoint Express 200 electric car recharging station. It will take up two parking spaces on the southeast corner of the square, as approved by the Albia City Council.
A total of $1,080.02 in back property taxes were also abated by the board.