Kinnard asks commission to change process for sale of county-owned land

Citrus County Commissioner Jeff KinnardThe county has made it no secret that it wants to get rid of excess county land as soon as possible and at a good price.

But County Commissioner Jeff Kinnard said on Tuesday that the way the county has gone about it is a process that is flawed.

The county had previously engaged someone to help sell county-owned land, but was not happy with the lack of significant results. So, the county send out a Request For Bids for a new "sales agent", hoping to get a better result But even though the county had received, and opened two bids, Commissioner Kinnard tried to persuade commissioners to change the process, even though, legally, the county could reject all bids and change the way the things were done to get a better deal. A third bidder missed the deadline, according to County Administrator Randy Oliver.

Kinnard suggested that the process to obtain this particular service should be replaced with the Request For Quotes when marketing surplus properties, based on the size of the properties, from small to large. "It didn't make sense to me that the county would go with the RFP process," Kinnard told commissioners. "This (the current RFP) process has not worked out," he said.

The problem for some commissioners, however, was that two bids had already been opened in a public meeting, and if the process were to be changed at this late date that bidders might have legal implications if a bidder wanted to challenge the county. "You would be in a very odd place if you changed the process," said County Attorney Denise A. Dymond-Lyn.

"Great discussion," said Commissioner Ron Kitchen. "That's why it should be on the agenda." Commissioner Brian Coleman said he agreed that it should be on the agenda and that he didn't want to vote on the issue today. For his part, Commission Chairman Scott Carnahan, noting possible legal consequences of changing the process "in mid stream" concerned him, and added, "I'm not gonna go there."

Kinnard stuck to his guns though and argued that changing thte process was a "smarter way." He said if commissioners voted to approve to change the process that it would "put everyone on an equal footing." if not, he said, all bids would stay the same as they currently are.

No vote was taken to change the process, but it appeared commissioners voted to have the issue placed on the official agenda for further discussion at its next meeting.