News and Tribune

Recent Local News

June 4, 2014

Floyd County to continue property discussion

North Annex at the top of the list

NEW ALBANY — The Floyd County Commissioners and Floyd County Council got together Tuesday night to discuss the possible sale of property. But the only decision made after 40 minutes is that more discussion is needed.

County Council President Jim Wathen called for the meeting after a committee was organized last year to look at county-owned property, and the possible sale of some of that property to help ease the county’s financial problems.

“A lot of these discussions have been going on for a long time,” Commissioners President Mark Seabrook said following the meeting.

The main discussion centered around the North Annex along Grant Line Road, which used to house some county offices, including the youth shelter, prior to the Pine View Government Center opening two years ago.

The North Annex is now shuttered, with the county still paying insurance and some utility costs. Don Lopp, director of county operations, said it would cost between $350,000 and $400,000 to tear down the building.

That idea has angered some historical groups. The North Annex was built in 1878, and preservationists are most concerned about salvaging the front portion of the building.

There has been some interest in the property from nonprofits Blue River Services and Family Scholar House. There was also some interest, Wathen said, recently in the building and the surrounding 17 acres for a price of $500,000. Wathen said he didn’t think it would be wise for the county to sell off all the land that fronts the North Annex.

Six years ago, the property was appraised for $4 million, but that was before the economy suffered. Most agreed Tuesday that the county should have the property appraised again.

“It’s been sitting for a while. We either need to sell it or tear it down,” Commissioner Steve Bush said.

Seabrook said if the National Guard building next to the North Annex becomes available, the land would be even more attractive to developers. The key, most agreed, is to maintain Sam Peden Community Park’s integrity.

“We need to be selective in what we have appraised [due to costs]. I think we need to have the North Annex and O’Brien Property appraised,” said Councilwoman Lana Aebersold.

The O’Brien Property is 30 acres the county received in a land swap when Georgetown was constructing its sewer plant.

The group also discussed moving the county’s probation department and selling the M.L. Reisz Building, and to better utilize the Pine View Government Center.

There has been talk of moving the Floyd County 4-H Fairgrounds from Green Valley Road to Galena Park, which has 30 acres. However, constructing new barns and buildings might make the move cost-prohibitive.

“I just think we’ve kind of outgrown the current location,” Wathen said.

Wathen said officials are split when it comes to discussing selling Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services.

“I was looking at a 2012 financial statement from the hospital. They increased their cash on hand by $11 million, and of that we receive none of it. But we turn around and pay the hospital rent for the health department,” Wathen said. “This place is a cash machine and it would be nice if the taxpayers could see a return on their investment.

“When I say everything is on the table, everything is on the table.”

Wathen said if the county does sell property, it won’t solve the current financial woes. The county is only expected to have $18,000 in the general fund at the end of the year, and already this year appropriations have been denied by the state Department of Local Government Finance because of a lack of money.

He said the money should be put into some type of investment fund, with the county only getting a small percentage each year.

No dates were set for further meetings between the commissioners and council.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Recent Local News
Easter 2014 photos

Click on any photo to purchase it.

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
2013 Photos of the year

Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.