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County resolves auction mix-up

Wednesday, July 09, 2014 - Updated: 10:16 AM


FONDA -- The Montgomery County Legislature came to an agreement on how to resolve an error that was made during an open-bid auction of county-owned real property in May.

At a special meeting Tuesday, the legislature voted 7-1 to pass an amended resolution to the full board, accepting the $135,000 bid made by Buanno Holdings for a 3-acre parcel in the town of Glen.

The bid award is contingent upon Buanno's purchase of two adjacent properties, which were supposed to be a part of the original bid, for an additional $50,000.

District 4 Legislator Ryan Weitz cast the lone dissenting vote, stating that the parcel needs to go out to bid again.

"The parcels were supposed to be sold as one, but the auctioneer screwed up. We saw the video. There were multiple bidders bidding on it as if it were one," Weitz said. "We have to merge them together, but in order to do that we have to reject the bid and go back out for proposals. To do anything other than that is placing favoritism where it shouldn't be placed."

The resolution is in response to an issue raised at the May 27 board meeting, when the legislature became aware of the error. During the auction, the 3-acre parcel was sold to the highest bidder, and the other two parcels ended up going to another bidder who backed out of the sale.

For several weeks, the legislature has considered options to rectify the issue.

Originally, the legislature met Tuesday to vote on two separate resolutions. One was to reject the bid by Buanno Holdings and the second was to issue requests for proposals for all three properties.

However, District 1 Legislator Martin Kelly called to amend the first resolution, changing it to accept the bid so long as the other parcels are purchased at the additional cost.

District 6 Legislator John Duchessi Jr. said he supported the action since the issue first arose.

"I don't want to see this person who is the high bidder not to get this property," he said.

District 7 Legislator Barbara Wheeler, who called for an RFP last month, said she would support the resolution, as long as the parcels were one.

"I am not going to split hairs here," she said. "Our first obligation is to Montgomery County and I would support this if goes as one property."

Since there are no committee meetings in July, the amended resolution will move to the full board July 22.


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