Editor’s Note: This story first published on Oct. 9, 2019
The Butler County commissioners have been trying to unload a house the county owns in Hawkinsville, Georgia for about four years.
Now, they’ve set the sale price for $1.
The commissioners, after some discussion, agreed Monday to advertise the dilapidated house at 235 Dooley St. for sale, and the asking price of $1 instead of $8,000. The Pulaski County, Georgia property website has it valued at $15,320.
“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, then asked her fellow commissioners, “Do you have any ideas on how to get rid of that property, since it’s not selling at auction.”
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-a-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.
Quisenberry left the county around that time, and the sale fell through the cracks until last summer, when the county received notice the house would be foreclosed upon for failure to pay property taxes. The county owes $1,471, according to the Pulaski County website. But Butler County Administrator Judi Boyko said the county has paid the tax bill.
The county decided just to let the property go through the foreclosure process, but Boyko said the house didn’t sell at the sheriff’s sale. She said staff tried to give the house to city of Hawkinsville and the city council declined.
“They will not take it, they do not want it,” she replied to Commissioner Don Dixon when he asked if they could just give it back.
After the commissioners agreed to drop the price to $1, Carpenter said, “If we advertise for a dollar, this could change the dynamic.”
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