The Butler County commissioners will finally jettison a dilapidated home they own in Hawkinsville, Georgia and were selling for $1.
The county received four bids for the house at 235 Dooley St., but Administrator Judi Boyko said only two were acceptable, one for $1,001 and another for $575. The Pulaski County, Georgia property website lists its value at $13,820.
Boyko told the Journal-News no one submitted a $1 bid.
“The instructions for the sealed bids did indicate that we would be accepting bids at a minimum of $1,” Boyko said. “However, (the) award would be granted to the highest bidder, and if there were more bids and everybody only bid a dollar, then it would be based on chronological order.”
Boyko said officials are reviewing the offers, and the commissioners will be required to accept the high bid if everything is in order.
“I just have a wild idea, what if we put a quarter-page ad in the newspaper and it just said something like property for sale, $1,” Commissioner Cindy Carpenter said previously, later adding, “If we advertise for a dollar, this could change the dynamic.”
How did the county come to own a home in Georgia? Former Butler County Care Facility director Chuck Demidovich said it’s a unique story.
A woman moved to Butler County to live with her daughter, and three years later she was admitted to the county-run care facility but denied Medicaid because she still owned her Georgia home.
When her nursing home bill reached about $50,000, Demidovich said a deal was made to buy the house in 2004 so the woman would qualify for aid, and the county got about $40,000 of her bill paid. Under Ohio law, nursing homes are supposed to take people’s property when they enter a facility.
“It’s a strange thing,” Demidovich, who retired late last year, previously told the Journal-News. “The thing is the law says I’m supposed to collect these people’s property. I really don’t want to do that, and this is an exact example why. If I get somebody’s house that nobody wants, I might as well become a land bank.”
The county paid $18,000 for the Georgia home, and Demidovich said he couldn’t find anyone to buy it so the county continued to pay the $200-per-year tax bill on the home.
The 1,050-square-foot home came on the radar of former asset and purchasing director Randy Quisenberry while the county was in the midst of “rightsizing” its assets by getting rid of leased space and renegotiating rents.
The commissioners put the home out for bids in the fall of 2015 with an asking price of $8,000. One bid came in at $1,000 after the county advertised for bids twice.
After Quisenberry left the county in 2016, the house sale fell through the cracks. The last tax bill the county paid on the property was in 2015, so the state of Georgia came calling in the summer of 2018 with a foreclosure notice.
The commissioners decided to let the process run its course, but Boyko said no one bid for the property in the sheriff’s sale. All the taxes have been paid.
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