The Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors rejected all three bids received for the proposed sale of the former county care facility site, saying they didn't offer enough money. The County took no action on a fourth, potentially much higher bid, which came in after the deadline Jan 19.
The fourth bid was from Storm Lake resident Guy Johns, who rather than offering cash up front, proposed paying $255,000 within a year of purchase, or if supervisors didn't think that was enough, $513,000 within two years of a deal, contingent on the buyer obtaining funding.
Johns didn't specifically indicate plans for the site, but referred to a non-profit organization possibly involving foundation grants, and operating the Spectra Health site under a new name.
The highest bidder of the three bids initially considered was $30,000 from James Walker who had expressed interest in keeping the facility open as a County Care facility. County officials said Tuesday they feel that bid amount was too low after receiving a $255,000 appraisal value for the property.
"We didn't think $30,000 was a fair (value)," says County Chairman Paul Merten. Other bids received included a $10,000 bid from Linda Walker and a $10,000 bid from Shane and Nancy Lenhart.
Spectra, which has operated a mental health inpatient facility since the county privatized the service years ago, had filed a token bid earlier, but did not compete in the official bidding. Referrals were hurt when the county started talking about selling the property, and Spectra announced that it would close, expected by Feb. 19.
Spectra Administrator Sue Morrow agreed the bids were too low. She said Spectra had paid enough in rent to purchase the property, more than $738,000 over 22 years.
The Johns bid was turned over to County Attorney Dave Patton since it had not met the official deadline for consideration.
During a public hearing for the possible sale of the property community members, Spectra employees and mental health care advocates wondered what would become of the property if it were sold, would it remain a care facility?
Merten says they may now look at requesting proposals from Realtors in the County to advertise the property for sale again. The County may also continue to negotiate with rejected bidders. Supervisors also visited with Control System Specialists about keeping enough heat to vacant buildings to keep them maintained for future sale.