Commissioners move forward with land appraisal, office space for new employees

The San Patricio County Elections Office will now be home to two county employees as commissioners agreed to buy back two offices in the building.

SINTON – The 765 acres of San Patricio County property, which includes the historic Dougherty House, may be appraised soon as commissioners authorized the County Judge Kreb’s office and the auditor’s office to move ahead with soliciting qualified real estate appraisers to determine the fair market value of the land.

The county land, known as the San Patricio de Hibernia Preserve, is located in Old San Patricio. The county originally bought the land with the stipulations that they had to maintain it, along with the historic old house, and have it open for public use.

In 2014 county commissioners voted to gate off the road because of vandals that would visit late at night, essentially keeping the public form using the area.

If the county chooses to follow through with selling the land after it’s appraised, the acres would have to be sold using a competitive bid process as well as paying back the $1 million grant the county used to purchase the properties.

Commissioners voted to seek appraisers.

During commissioners court a few months back, County Attorney Tamara Cochran-May asked for two additional employees to help with the growing number of cases coming through her office due to county growth.

Commissioners agreed and allowed her to hire the employees. The problem was there wasn’t enough room to house additional employees.

“Back when the county purchased the elections building, the district attorney purchased two of the offices for $40,000 from the county,” Public Information Officer Desiree’ Voth said

“So (District Attorney)Sam Smith, who uses those two rooms as storage, has agreed to relocate his storage and sell it back to us for the same $40,000.”

Voth said that County Auditor David Wendel would take out the funds from the capital improvement fund, and didn’t have any concerns about it.

The item was unanimously passed by the court.

Paul Gonzales is the editor at the News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270 or at mathisnews@mySouTex.com.