The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

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County Council, December 6

County will still consider bids for old Naval Hospital
Ho hum
Warwick Jones

The Post and Courier made a big story out of it. It was not deserved.

The final item on the Finance Committee agenda was 3600 Rivers Avenue, the site of the old Naval Hospital. We won’t recite the checkered and sad history of the site under the ownership of the County. But perhaps like others, we thought something interesting was to be revealed. There wasn’t and in our view, there was a lot of wasted discussion.

The item was triggered by the Administrator who wanted more guidance for staff in dealing with the property. After unsuccessfully seeking buyers for the property, staff had been tasked to develop a plan for demolition, and development. But there was still prospect of an offer being made to purchase the property. Should the staff consider such bids?

We heard the term “common sense” used a number of times and think that that consideration of an offer would be “common sense”. Notwithstanding, discussion went on for some time. Council member Qualey said the property should just be sold, Council member Johnson asked what was a reasonable offer? And Council member Schweers wondered why staff could not continue with its directive and bring back any offer as well? And there was much more.

Chairman Rawl was clearly irritated by the lengthening discussion and sought to bring it to conclusion. He noted that as Chairman, he was not allowed to make a motion, but would do so regardless. In summary, his motion was that Staff would continue to work on a plan for demolition, and development of the site. But if some third party were interested in making an offer for the property, without the proviso that the County be a tenant, it could brought to Council if the County Attorney thought the proposal had merit.

The Chairmans “motion” was proposed and seconded by Committee members, and then approved.

There was little else of note on other agenda items. However, as has become common, an executive session was held towards the conclusion of the meeting. When the Committee resumed, it voted to extend the County Attorney’s contract for another 5 years.