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Wolford School building, land sold

By Staff | Dec 20, 2019

The Wolford School Board voted Monday to accept a bid submitted by Landon Halvorson, of Wolford, for the former Wolford School building and land.

The unanimous vote came after the board reviewed two bids for the property, sold according to conditions spelled out in advertisements appearing in the Pierce County Tribune and Turtle Mountain Star newspapers for two weeks in December.

Bidding closed at 4 p.m. Monday, just ahead of the regular December school board meeting.

The board reviewed both Halvorson’s bid and one submitted by George Duncan of Gold Nugget Properties, LLC in Meadville, Mo. Attorney Quinn Fylling, of law firm Pearce-Durick, in Bismarck participated in the bid review by phone.

Board members expressed concern that Duncan’s bid contained a check for $1,000, which according to a letter contained with the check was partial payment of a $10,001 total bid.

Wolford School Superintendent Larry Zavada told the board Duncan had spoken to him by phone, telling him the check was “a 10 percent down payment” on the full bid.

However, the advertisement had instructed bidders to “submit a qualified bid containing a check with good funds made payable to ‘Wolford Public School District’ in the amount of the bid.”

Wolford School Board President Jeff Slaubaugh asked, “Based on (Duncan) not complying by sending a check for the full bid amount, that would be enough grounds to reject that bid?”

Fylling told the board, “I believe so.” Fylling said accepting the bid could “raise a lot of questions frankly, I think, because the 10 percent just seems to be so far afield of the advertisement requirements that it would be difficult to accept that bid under the circumstances.”

Zavada said, “How I read it, the check we received from the man from Missouri is not for the amount of the bid.”

The board agreed Halvorson’s bid of $500 complied with the terms set in the advertisement.

A motion to reject Duncan’s bid was carried with a 4-1 roll call vote. Board member Jeff Morrow voted “no.” A separate motion to accept Halvorson’s bid received a unanimous vote.

The board agreed to discuss terms related to closing the sale in January.

The board voted to shut down utilities and drain water from boilers and restroom fixtures as of the end of December.

Halvorson told the board he did not plan to use electricity in the building, which he said he would use for storage. Halvorson owns farm property adjacent to the school land.

Halvorson also told the board he was willing to delay the transfer of the school property until after the Wolford All School Reunion set for June 11-12, 2020.

In other business, the board voted to cancel plans for an asbestos assessment on the building and approved bills and financial statements from November.

The board also heard financial updates from Business Manager Wanita Olson, who reported the district’s general fund balance was $57,300.40.

Olson said, “The building fund as of November 30 was sitting at $5172.85.”

Olson added the district’s special reserve account received revenue from “delinquent property tax.” That was $149.53, so that’s sitting at $49, 708.15.”

“We’re down to three accounts,” Olson said of the school budget.

Olson also reported the district received $2,867.46 in tax revenue from Pierce County, and adjusted the revenue for the district’s budget by adding $9,700 in delinquent property tax receipts, $655 in tax penalties and interest and $11,500 in other revenue.

The board approved the revenue adjustments.

The Wolford School Board will meet again Tuesday, Jan. 21, with the meeting location to be determined later.

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