McMinnville Water Department is looking to purchase 11.75 acres for $750,000.
The land is located next to the city’s Water Treatment Plant on Bell Street. Owned by Jim Dyer, the purchase would mean the city owns the property from Bell Street to the Barren Fork River – where Pepper Branch Park is located – and from the railroad tracks to Old Morrison Road, including a 45,000-square-foot industrial building.
“We’ve had some verbal discussions for some time and I think we’ve come to an agreeable number,” said Water Department director Anthony Pelham. “If the water plant ever had to grow with some of the things we are looking at with growth and expansion, we are pretty much land locked along the northern border of the Water Treatment Plant campus.”
According to the Warren County Property Assessor’s Office, the appraised value of the property is $494,000.
Pelham said an independent appraisal set the value at $600,000.
“We have had appraisals done on the property by certified industrial appraisers and the purchase price is a little bit higher,” said Pelham. “However, due to the value of it protecting the Water Treatment facility for the foreseeable future, that’s a premium that far offsets paying a little more. If we ever had to expand and had to look at moving the Water Treatment facility, the cost would be astronomical. This really is a long-range projection and protection of the water plant.”
Funds for the purchase would come from within the department, an enterprise system, and not taxpayer dollars. Being an enterprise system means the Water Department is completely funded by money collected from water bills.
“We have a pretty healthy fund balance,” said Pelham. “We can pay cash for it, which would require a budget amendment if we did it before the end of the fiscal year, or we can do it as a capital item in the next budget and do it right after July 1. Which one we do depends on how the Board and Mayor and Aldermen vote.”
Pelham said his long-term intent is to relocate the city’s Water Maintenance office from Bernard Street, which does not meet their needs and is not ADA compliant, to Bell Street and return the Bernard Street facility to the city for other uses.
City attorney Tim Pirtle asked if an EPA study needs to be done and if Pelham knows the complete history of the property.
“I guess that’s something we will have to evaluate,” said Pelham.
Pirtle added, “Any manufacturing is going to require due diligence from an environmental standpoint.”
Committee members approved the purchase and sent the measure to the full Board of Mayor and Aldermen for its consideration.