Brownwood rejects all 3 bids to buy old fire station

Brownwood Fire Station

The City of Brownwood rejected all three bids it received to purchase the old main fire station.

In a special joint meeting the city council and Brownwood Municipal Development District held Tuesday at city hall, the bids were denied for not meeting specifications, City Manager Emily Crawford said.

"[With] all three bids, there was either one or more items that could not comply with what was written into the bid specs," Crawford said. "Because of that we had to reject all the bids."

Located at the intersection of Austin Avenue and Main Street, the city's most highly trafficked intersection, the BMDD put the building up for sale last November.

All the bidders for the fire station wanted to purchase the building and install a fast food restaurant.

Mayor Stephen Haynes said two bids were disqualified because they removed a clause the city required for purchase. The provision allows Brownwood to take back the property if the project doesn't meet bid specifications once construction begins, according to the mayor.

Bill Ruth, who placed a bid, told the mayor he questioned that provision's legality.

"From a legal standpoint, I don't think it would be legal because it was broad and open ended," Ruth said.

Angie Schum's bid was also turned down for the same reason, and she took issue with that clause.

"I've never heard of someone selling a piece of land and still have a string attached to it," Schum told Haynes.

He responded, "We've done it all the time, every project the City of Brownwood has ever sold through economic development."

Haynes said that provision protects the city from a shady business being set up using property it purchased from the city.

As for the third bid, City Manager Emily Crawford said she couldn't discuss why it was rejected because “the decision was made in executive session.” Ruth and Schum both asked in an open meeting why their bids were rejected.

The Brownwood Municipal Development District will revisit the sale of the old fire station again at their board meeting on Feb. 20, according to Executive Director Guy Andrews.

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