By the numbers
Rejected bids for Moffat County School District properties
Location: Seventh and Breeze streets
Size: 11 city lots, or 34,375 square feet
Estimated value: $175,000 $190,000
•Bidder 1: Mike Harding, Steamboat Springs: $50,150
•Bidder 2: Jay Wagner, Craig: $36,900
•Bidder 3: David Griffith and Jim Duran, Craig: $75,000
Location: North of 13th Street
Size: 8.5 acres
Estimated value: $80,000 to $165,000
•Bidder 1: Mike Harding, Steamboat Springs: $8,050
•Bidder 2: Jay Wagner, Craig: $17,960
At its monthly meeting Thursday, the Moffat County School Board rejected five bids for two tracts of land it offered up for sale recently.
The reason: bids received didn't reflect the properties' estimated value.
"I think the bids we received, even in a very cool real estate market, are just too low for us to receive," district finance director Mark Rydberg said.
Board members voted to postpone the property sales, with exception of a half-lot a local resident previously offered to buy.
Three bids were offered for the first tract of land located at Seventh and Breeze streets. The property, which does not include Breeze Street Park, measures 34,375 square feet.
Mike Harding, a Steamboat Springs resident, offered $50,150 while Jay Wagner of Wagner Ranches, LLC, in Craig put in a bid of $36,900. David Griffith and Jim Duran, of Craig, offered the highest bid at $75,000.
But none of the three offers reached the lowest value estimate assigned to the property by an independent market analysis conducted in the spring. The service, conducted by two local real estate agencies, found the tract's value ranged from $175,000 to $190,000.
The three bids offered an average of about $54,017, or a total of more than $12,000 less than the lowest of two value estimates.
The School Board fared no better in the bids it received on the second piece of land. It received two bids for the 8.5-acre tract north of 13th Street: One from Harding for $8,050 and a second from Wagner for $17,960.
In contrast, realtors' estimations valued the tract to be between $80,000 and $165,000. Wagner's bid, the highest of the two, fell more than $62,000 short of the lowest value estimate.
School Board members took Rydberg's suggestion and denied all three bids, an option they left open when the properties were opened for sale.
Keeping the two land tracts won't cost the school district anything, and it isn't required to sell the property within any given timeframe. Instead, it can postpone the sale until market conditions improve.
Rejecting the bids for the property near Breeze and Seventh streets means a local businessman may not have to relocate - at least, not as soon as he anticipated.
The School Board planned to put the properties up for sale in late spring but tabled the decision until the end of the summer at the request of local businessman Bob Meckley.
Meckley owns Tunies & Such Nursery and Landscaping, and he currently rents the Breeze Street lot from the school district in exchange for about $900 worth of trees annually.
Delaying the sale may have played a part in bids that fell short of previous estimates.
"As I'm sure everyone knows, the world has changed a lot in those six months," Rydberg said.
School Board members left open the option to allow Meckley to continue storing excess trees and landscaping materials on the lot.
However, Superintendent Pete Bergmann suggested renegotiating its agreement with the company, requiring a "fair market commercial land lease" for the property, he said.
When contacted Sunday, Meckley said he hadn't been informed that the School Board had postponed the sale.
"If I can, my plans are to stay" on the tract, he said.
The school district did secure one sale Thursday night.
Darrel Irvin offered $5,500 for a half-lot adjoining the Seventh and Breeze streets property.
Irvin previously had shown interest in the piece, which belongs to the school district. He said he was "definitely" still willing to purchase the property.
Irvin could not be reached for comment Sunday.