By Jaime Thomas
After two months of bidding from a number of anonymous parties, the Eldridge Lane landfill property auction in Hartford closed Monday.
The final bid for all three came in at a higher-than-expected $400,300. Individually, the three-separate parcels that make up the 485-acre plot added up to $332,700.
“I think it’s wonderful. It gets it out of government hands, back into private ownership and back onto the tax roll,” said Hartford Town Supervisor Dana Haff.
The piece of land was open for bids since July 23, when Washington County officially put it up for sale on Auctions International, an online auction.
The move came after the town of Hartford was at odds with the county over the property, which the county originally purchased in 1991 to construct an ash landfill that was never built. Since then, Hartford has been pursuing legal action to receive back payment in lieu of taxes from the county.
The three deeded parcels, which all have road frontage on Eldridge Lane, amounted to 241 acres, 129 acres and 115 acres, respectively.
As Haff expected, there were serious bidding wars in the hours leading up to the close of the auction.
Interested buyers could bid on individual parcels or the package as a whole. The total 485-acre bulk lot started off at $335,700 Monday morning at 11:07 a.m. and increased to over $400,000 by 11:54. Three bidders, called buyer1066, 4562 and mm771, upped the ante every few seconds throughout the hour, until buyer1066 won.
Laura Chadwick, director of Washington County Real Property, said the identity of the buyer was not yet available. However, the bidder did make a $10,000 deposit to the auctioneer on Monday.
For his part, Haff was hopeful the county would accept the bid and put the whole business in the past.
“Hartford has worked very hard to get to this point where the land would be sold out of the hands of county government and placed back on the tax rolls where it belongs,” Haff said. The last time the land was put out for sale, in 2009 the county did not accept a $227,000 offer.
“I can’t conceive that we would turn it down, because it’s more than the appraised value,” Haff said.
The plot was appraised at $400,000 in 2011, while the appraised value of the individual pieces added together was $387,000. Haff said he was gauging current bids to that number, so anything above it was “gravy.”
Granville Town Supervisor Matt Hicks said he couldn’t speak for the rest of the board, but said that he was satisfied with the final bid. He said he would discuss the numbers with the county finance committee in early October.
“It’s not a done deal until the October full board meeting,” Haff said. The County Board of Supervisors will make a decision on the sale at an Oct. 18 meeting.