November 7, 2012 10:41:52 AM
The Oktibbeha County School District has authorized a lease agreement for its portion of 16th section land that includes part of the Oktibbeha County Lake.
The district agreed during its Monday meeting to a lease agreement with former Mississippi State basketball Coach Rick Stansbury and partner John Barnett, who have agreed to pay the district $31,290.25 annually for the property.
Neither Stansbury nor Barnett would comment on Tuesday, but will be issuing a statement within the next couple of days.
The 25-year contract calls for readjustments every eight years in accordance with Mississippi 16th section land statutes.
This comes after OCSD initially rejected an offer in August from Stansbury and Barnett to lease the more than 400 acres of property for $25,000 a year.
OCSD 16th section land manager Mike Ainsworth told the Dispatch in August that the school board could not legally accept anything below the appraised value of the property, which sits at close to $43,000, or $100 an acre.
"By law right now, that is all they can accept, whatever the appraised value is," Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth also said, however, the school district has the right to section off this land and sell it, but that the $100 an acre appraisal must still be met.
So Stansbury and Barnett made another proposal, this time for only the school district's portion, close to 312 acres, which was authorized Monday night.
The leased portion includes the boat ramps and camping areas that have been closed since April.
Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors President Orlando Trainer said now that the school district's portion is leased, the supervisors need to find someone to sign a lease for the remainder of the 16th section land near the lake.
It is uncertain when or why the county acquired their section of the property, approximately 95 acres, but Trainer said he is almost certain the supervisors will not have to abide by the same stipulations (e.g. $100 an acre minimum) that applied to the school board.
"We may have to get some fair market appraisal done or something, but I don't think anything would be set in stone by the Secretary of State," Trainer said. "It would be nice to get that money, but that situation is going to need some work."
After speaking with either Stansbury and Barnett, there is now an invitation for the two men to come in and talk. Trainer said he hopes that they will want to lease the remaining land.
"Hopefully we can come to some sort of an agreement," Trainer said. "If we don't, then it will leave us in somewhat of a quagmire...managing that land is a big responsibility."
The land, which was used recreationally and operated by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, was vacated in April when the department opted out of renewing its lease.