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County sells Wheeler Building for $1.2 million

Though the county will be losing $750,000 on the sale of the Wheeler Building, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners is just happy to get rid of it.

The Board of Commissioners had been trying to sell the property, located in the 100 block of the Railroad Avenue in Westminster, since May 2011. On Thursday, the board voted 3-0 to sell the building and property to DCM Leasing LLC for $1.2 million.

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DCM Leasing, of Waynesboro, Pa., plans to use the property to sell and service vehicles.

Commissioners Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, and Robin Bartlett Frazier, R-District 1, did not attend Thursday's meeting and did not vote on the sale.

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"I'm tickled to death," said Commissioner Haven Shoemaker, R-District 2. "The fact of the matter is that that's a building that the county shouldn't have bought in the first place. We overpaid for it when we did buy it and we've been looking high and low for a buyer since this present board came into office and was saddled with that white elephant."

The county didn't receive any offers on the property when it was put up for sale in 2011 by the Carroll County Department of Public Works. In 2012, commercial realty company NAI KLNB was hired to sell the property.

The Wheeler Building and property served as a Chrysler dealership showroom and parking area for cars prior for the county purchasing it. The former three-member commissioner board bought the property for $1.95 million in 2008 to eventually house a county police force, if one was ever established.

Ultimately, the Carroll County Sheriff's Office became the primary law enforcement agency in the county in 2011 and Access Carroll, a nonprofit organization, was set to move into the building. The current commissioners then decided to decrease funding for improvements to the building, forcing Access Carroll to find a different site.

A number of commissioners have criticized the former board for purchasing the property in the first place, saying that $1.95 million was way too much.

The former three-member board did pay more than the appraised value of the Wheeler Building when it purchased it in 2008, according to Tom Rio, director of public works. The reason was because there were two other buyers lined up to purchase the property, he said.

In order for the county to get the use out of the Wheeler Building that it originally planned, the county would have had to spend a significant amount of money, according to Commissioner Doug Howard, R-District 5.

"This is a major accomplishment," Howard said.

Though the offer from DCM Leasing is a far cry from what the county paid for the property in 2008, Shoemaker said he's glad that the county is selling the property.

"In this market, there aren't a lot of buyers willing to pony up $1.2 million," Shoemaker said. "I think the county is extremely fortunate that we've been able to secure this buyer."

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