PALO PINTO – County commissioners hope to quickly iron out details on a proposed lease for the Poston’s Building property – which the county currently owns and occupies but is selling as part of a deal to acquire the former Bank of America building.

Earlier this month the commissioners voted to acquire the former bank building from NSC Properties LP in exchange for the downtown Poston’s Building and parking lot plus $1.3 million cash.

Commissioners are eager to close on the deal and begin necessary work on the two-story bank building that will include some asbestos abatement along with repairs and updates to the elevator, roof and HVAC systems along with other renovations estimated to total about $600,000.

On Monday, commissioners heard from local architect Tim Hopkins and project coordinator Tillman Chaplain on how the county should proceed and what to anticipate on the project moving forward.

PALO PINTO – After several months of serious discussions, negotiations and inspections Palo Pinto County Commissioners on Monday pulled the trigger on acquiring the former Bank of America building in Mineral Wells in a property swap-plus-cash deal.

A special session Tuesday afternoon hoped to result in approving a lease agreement so that once the property deal is finalized, the county can continue operations there until those offices – including motor vehicle registration, Pct. 5 justice of the peace, Pct. 5 constable and juvenile probation – can be relocated to the new building.

However, the tendered lease agreement raised some concerns and questions that pushed any decision off till Friday.

“I think at this point in time I’m not comfortable with this lease agreement,” said County Judge Shane Long.

The judge said from a legal perspective the lease agreement passed muster with County Attorney Meagan Kostiha, but there were terms and conditions that raised commissioners’ concerns.

For instance, one item concerned access to the Poston’s Building by NSC Properties. In most cases that would not be a landlord and tenant issue, but in this case it would include access to sensitive county tax, judicial and criminal records.

“They just may not have thought about the consequences of accessing a government building,” Long said.

Commissioner Mike Pierce agreed, saying, “We are not your normal tenant.”

The lease calls for the county to provide property insurance, however county officials, including Auditor Phyllis Banks, questioned whether the Texas Association of Counties would insure a building the county did not own. She said the would obtain insurance to cover its contents.

The proposed lease is for six months for $3,000 a month, plus $1,000 a month to cover NSC’s property taxes. The lease would then go to a monthly basis and could be subject to increases. Commissioner Jeff Fryer said six months was likely not enough time for the county time to complete enough work on the former bank building to relocate those offices.

“Hopefully nine months would put us really close,” Commissioner Gary Glover.

Ensuring parking lot access was another area commissioners wanted to make clear in the lease. Another concern Banks raised was the proposed sale document listed the total Poston’s sale price correctly, but evenly split the valuation of the combined property lots, leaving the building selling at below its appraised value.

County officials believe the issues and concerns can easily be resolved and hope to approve the lease and move forward with the sale at Friday’s specially called 2 p.m. meeting.

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