St. Clair County Probate Judge Mike Bowling ordered that the condemned property’s fair market value is $750,000.
The former Avondale Mills’ well property has been a source of disagreement between the city and Pell City-Tifton Properties LLC, which is a subsidiary of Thunder Enterprises of Chattanooga.
Pell City-Tifton Properties LLC, offered to sell the 1-acre commercial plot to the city for $1.9 million, but eventually lowered its price to $1 million.
Pell City-Tifton Properties LLC said the initial price of the property was determined by an independent expert knowledgeable about land/water rights, who was hired by the company.
The city hired its own appraiser, who appraised the property at $310,000, a price Pell City-Tifton Properties LLC rejected.
The city entered condemnation proceedings before Bowling, who granted the petition by the city and appointed a three-member commission of St. Clair County residents to determine the value of the well property.
Commission members Joe Dorough, Paul Kell and Richard Ward issued an opinion stating the fair market price of the well property is $750,000.
Bowling said both parties have 30 days to appeal the decision to the circuit court or pay the price.
According to documents obtained by The Daily Home, the city had an option to renew a 20-year well lease with Avondale but failed to do so within the required time frame.
Avondale Mills allowed the city to operate the well on the condition that it kept up the property and provided free water to the company’s Pell City plant.
Thunder Enterprises purchased most of the Avondale Mills properties in Pell City about a year after the plant closed in 2007.
Pell City-Tifton Properties LLC continues to lease the well to the city for $2,000 a month while the status of the property remains in question.
City officials say the well is vital to the city and supplied 28 percent of the city’s water supply in 2007.
Mayor Bill Hereford said the city plans to discuss the matter at Thursday’s work session.
Pell City attorney Dwight Blair, who represents Pell City-Tifton Properties LLC, said he would like to see the order of condemnation and discuss it with his client before commenting.