Council Discloses Community Center Appraisal

BLYTHEWOOD – Town Councilman Jeff Branham, on behalf of Mayor J. Michael Ross, disclosed the results of an appraisal of the Community Center property that he said had been contracted for last fall, but not disclosed to Town Council or Town Administrator John Perry until Tuesday afternoon.

According to the appraisal, which was addressed to the town’s Attorney Jim Meggs, the estimated market value of the 4.88 acre property is between $1,220,000 and $1,340,000. Sharpe Properties, LLC purchased the property for $1.5 million and closed on the deal with the Town on Jan. 31.

In an interview late Tuesday, Larry Sharpe told The Voice that the Town government would not divulge the appraisal to him prior to the closing, but that he was fine with the price he paid. He said he felt he got his money’s worth.

In Tuesday’s email to the media, Branham said the Mayor had just received the official appraisal that morning. He went on to write, “We [passed] this information on to the citizens as soon as we received it. We hope this conveys to our citizens that we were aware of the values of the comparable properties, and that due diligence was performed when the final contract was negotiated.”

When asked how the Council had performed due diligence in negotiating the contract with Sharpe, considering they had not seen the appraisal, Branham told The Voice last week that Perry had instructed Meggs to contract for the appraisal, but that Meggs was not to tell anyone, not even Council members, the appraisal results until after the sale was final. Branham told The Voice that when Sharpe made his offer, Perry related that offer to Meggs and that Meggs nodded as to whether Council should accept the offer or reject it.

“He just let us know if we were getting a good price,” Branham said. “We didn’t want the appraisal price to get out in case the deal fell through and we had to put it on the market again.”

The appraisal was prepared by Mark W. Van Popering, MAI of Van Popering Company, LLC in Columbia.