Columbus Light & Water representatives are expected to meet with a local developer today to offer him almost $1 million for 118 acres south of the city.
The CL&W board voted 3-2 on Oct. 21 to buy the land near Nashville Ferry Road and Shady Lane from Russell Sheffield, of Sheffield Construction Inc., for sludge disposal.
The board turned down a second offer of $450,000 for 115 acres owned by Ronnie and Donna West LP.
Unlike Sheffield, the Wests had not started the permit process that would let CL&W use the land to dispose of treated wastewater and iron oxide sludge, said CL&W General Manager Todd Gale.
A condition on the offer to Sheffield is that he has to finish the permit process with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, said CL&W attorney Jeff Smith.
The Wests” land also had hydric soil deposits, which could indicate wetlands, Gale said.
Sheffield”s land was appraised twice, once at $500,000 and once at $1.8 million.
The first appraisal, done by Stewart Stafford, looked at the raw cost of the land once it receives its permit. The second, done by Steven Holcomb, also considered the cost of transporting the sludge and at long-term savings for CL&W.
The financially troubled Sheffield, who owns 309 acres along Nashville Ferry Road, began the permit process in 2009 when the board first began looking to buy property for sludge disposal.
Jim Helveston, attorney of Sheffield”s ex-wife, Mary Ann West, confirmed Thursday that he is looking into whether his client should receive part of the purchase.
Although the land was appraised during their divorce, the number would not indicate the land”s actual worth, said Pat Adair, with the Lowndes County Tax Assessor”s Office.