Morehead City Council rejects city hall bid, reopens upset process

A pedestrian walks in front of the Morehead City city hall building on Arendell Street in this stock photo. The building is up for sale via an upset bid process.

MOREHEAD CITY — The city council Tuesday rejected all bids for the purchase of the city hall building on Arendell Street, thus initiating another round of the upset bid process.

Morehead City received a high bid of $350,000 for the property at 706 Arendell St. from Michigan-based AJK Acquisitions LLC. There were no subsequent upset bids, but City Manager Ryan Eggleston informed the council another prospective buyer made a verbal offer of $375,000 for the property.

Mr. Eggleston recommended the council reject all prior bids and reinitiate the upset bid process with a baseline bid of $375,000. The city council voted 3-1 to do so, with Councilman David Horton opposed and George Ballou absent from the vote.

Under the upset bid process, interested buyers who meet a minimum bid amount and certain conditions set by the council can place offers within a 10-day window. Whenever someone makes a new bid, the 10-day window resets until there are no more bids. After all bids are in, the council chooses to either accept the high bid or reject all bids and restart the process, as it did Tuesday,

The city is selling the Arendell Street property ahead of completion of the new city hall building being constructed on Bridges Street. That new building will house the city’s consolidated government functions, which are currently split between the old city hall on Arendell Street and the municipal building on S. 8th Street.

The city has no immediate plans to sell the municipal building, which is on the state’s register of historic places.

In other business, the city council awarded a two-year debris removal contract to TFR Enterprises. Public Services Director Daniel Williams said having the contract in place makes it more likely the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the city for cleanup costs after a major disaster, like a hurricane.

Also, the council directed the city attorney to draft a resolution establishing a parks and recreation advisory board. The proposed panel came about through discussions with the Concerned Citizens of Morehead City and will be comprised of community members and elected officials. The city hopes to launch the committee by September.

The council also adopted the consent agenda, which included the following items:

  • Approved minutes of the April 28 special meeting, May 5 workshop meeting and May 12 regular council meeting.
  • Accepted the finance director’s report and tax collector’s report.
  • Accepted notice of tax overpayments in the amount of $2,681.66 for the month of May.
  • Approved requests for refunds of overpayment of ad valorem taxes in the amount of $6,311.19 for May.
  • Adopted resolution 2020-R-30 endorsing the Carteret Community College Spanish Mackerel and Dolphin Fishing Tournament and authorizing action necessary for the event to be held Sunday, July 12.
  • Adopted resolution 2020-R-31 endorsing the North Carolina Ducks Unlimited Billfish Tournament and authorizing action necessary for the event to be held Wednesday-Saturday, July 22-25, on the Morehead City waterfront.
  • Adopted resolution 2020-R-323 designating the city’s agent for FEMA disaster number 4465DR-NC (Hurricane Dorian).
  • Adopted budget ordinance amendment 2020-10 for purchase of school signs in relation to School Safety Equipment Grant pass-thru from the Carteret County Board of Education.