County seeks to buy facility on Clay Street|[12/2/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 2, 2005

A counteroffer from Vicksburg officials is likely for Warren County’s offer to purchase the former Southern Printing building for $150,000.

&#8220We’re not going to sell it for less than what we paid for it,” Mayor Laurence Leyens said. &#8220At the very minimum, we need to pay city residents for their initial outlay. We’re trying to find out what the true cost is.”

The building was purchased from its private owner about 10 years ago for $175,000.

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Thursday, District 1 Supervisor David McDonald, president of the county board, said the $150,000 offer extended Monday was based on half the appraised value, estimated at $389,000, due to benefits the city would receive from using the building, now vacant and unused.

But &#8220we might sell to the private market for $389,000,” Leyens said.

The county wants the building for climate-controlled storage of 138 touch-screen voting machines expected to be delivered soon.

Additional uses include new space for others now working in the Warren County Courthouse basement – the E-911 Dispatch Center, Warren County Election Commission and Warren County Emergency Management Agency.

There is also expected to be space for adminstrative workers in Vicksburg’s new mini-bus transportation system, expected to start operations in the spring.

The city identified the building as surplus and for sale several years ago, but has mentioned using it as a bus base.

No crisis will occur if the voting machines arrive before a deal is reached. McDonald said he had received a verbal agreement from Leyens to allow the county to store the machines in the building. Most of the machines are being purchased with a federal-state allocation and they will be used in all elections, including municipal-only voting.

No timetable has been set for taking up the county’s offer, but South Ward Alderman Sid Beaumann also indicated Thursday he &#8220wouldn’t be agreeable to $150,000” because of &#8220about $50,000” the city has spent.

In other business, supervisors heard from Pat McKinney and Bradford Walker, lay leaders at Gibson Memorial United Methodist Church, who favored keeping Bowie Road named as it is.

Under a change proposed, the Bowie name would be discontinued and the road connecting U.S. 61 North and Oak Ridge would be renumbered with Oak Ridge Road addresses.

McKinney told supervisors that he is a descendant of the Bowie family and that the name &#8220is a historical name.”

McDonald and District 4 Supervisor Carl Flanders told them that improving emergency response time would be at the heart of any name change.

A recommendation would have to come from the E-911 Commission, in charge of all address and road name changes, and be approved by supervisors.

Earlier this week, the commission voted to start notification on a related road name change, but took no action on the Bowie matter.

Property owners along what has been Oak Ridge Road between Bowie and Culkin are to be notified of intent to change those addresses from Oak Ridge to Culkin.

Both changes follow work that eliminated the intersection near the entrance to Openwood Plantation subdivision where Bowie and Oak Ridge met.