02/11/18 — Board approves timber sales for school projects

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Board approves timber sales for school projects

By Steve Herring
Published in News on February 11, 2018 3:05 AM

Wayne County commissioners on Tuesday worried that making public the estimated value of stands of timber owned by the Wayne County Board of Education could adversely affect bids for the timber.

However, the board voted unanimously to approve the sale.

The school board is going to look at five different wooded areas around schools, County Manager Craig Honeycutt said.

The estimation was around $110,000 for all of it, some 109 acres, Honeycutt said. However, the school board cannot bid out the timber without commissioners' approval, he said.

The money will be used for small capital projects, Honeycutt said. It is not money that will be put back into operations, he said.

"Only in government would you possibly go hire someone to do a survey and then publicly announce what you anticipate the bids to be," Commissioner Joe Daughtery said. "Only in government."

The estimation of projected revenues is required, Honeycutt said.

"I realize that, but it would probably be a good idea to keep those numbers quiet until after those bids," Daughtery said.

That is probably a good suggestion, Honeycutt said.

The school board wants to sell timber from 109 acres on school sites across the county.

"I wish that figure had never come out because on 109 acres, unless we've got some really poor timber, that is very low," Commissioner Ray Mayo said. "Very, very low.

"You can get a $100,000 off of 20 acres of good pine timber. So I just feel like this is way low."

It does have to be bid out, Honeycutt said.

But that $100,000 figure tells potential bidders where they need to be, Mayo said.

"The natives are restless over this," Commissioner Wayne Aycock said. "I have had several timber people contact me, and I told them it would be put out for bids and that we would be glad to take the highest bid. But this is being talked."

"My understanding is that you either accept the bids or don't accept them," Commissioner Ed Cromartie said.

Mayo countered that the bidders would be like anyone else and go with the estimated value.

Aycock said he feels confident the bids will come in higher than what has been projected, but that the county needs to be careful.

Discussion over the timber sale was tabled from the board's Jan. 23 session to get more information from schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Dunsmore.

"In talking with Dr. Dunsmore, the funds from the timber sale will be used for gym projects as they believe the final construction cost will be more than even what we have in the budget," Honeycutt said.

"The reason why timber came up is because down at Southern Wayne, where we are looking at expanding the gym, they had to timber that area anyway. So part of the discussion is, if we are looking at doing that, we might see what areas that we have that we can sell for timber and that is when they came up with this list."

"Can we make sure there weren't any change orders in the original proposal that would cause the increase in cost," Daughtery said.

Honeycutt said he would check, but that part of the increase is because construction costs have gone up.