Mr. Balcomb’s support for the Worrell & Durrett purchase in his November 2, PI letter to the Editor, seems to suggest the three BOCCs made their decision based on speculation using public funds.
Taxpayers need to ask the following questions for these types of real estate transactions:
- Who represented the county (buyers) in this transaction?
- What specific use did the commissioners have to enter into this real estate transaction?
- Where and when were the specifics of a plan for the property’s use posted?
- Did the use have support from governing authorities within Glenwood Springs, a home rule municipality?
The same questions need to be asked with regard to another pending real estate transaction involving the swap of county owned land under the Valley View Hospital. The county land is valued around $4 million, in exchange for the Petry Building in Glenwood Springs worth an estimated $1.8 million with substantial building improvement costs.
The land swap has the county swallowing a $2.2 million deficiency between the properties plus building improvements, along with lost negotiating opportunities to increase revenues through a more equitable lease agreement with Valley View.
Like the Worrell & Durrett purchase, without the BOCCs offering the public and Glenwood Springs governing authorities a clear plan for real estate purchases and use, the transaction with county funds is speculative. Further, the county will incur heavy maintenance expenses associated with the swap, and lose opportunities for negotiating more equitable leasing terms. There are clear state rules about counties purchasing and swapping real estate.
Unfortunately, this information won’t be available until after the election per our County Manager, Drew Gorgey. Whether or not the land swap is a done deal isn’t clear. The Valley View land swap, like the Worrell & Durrett building purchase, seems to be flying under the public’s radar. Clearly, the current BOCCs, and interested parties like it that way.