Bowlin told parties involved in the property dispute that he could render his decision earlier than Monday, but no later.
“I’ll give you my decision by the end of the working day Monday,” Bowlin told those in attendance at Friday morning’s hearing.
William “Bill” Horton, president and general counsel for Pell City-Tifton Properties, LLC, and Kevin Whiteside, president of Thunder Enterprises, were at Friday morning’s hearing.
Pell City Mayor William “Bill” Hereford and city attorney Kyle Barrentine also attended the short hearing.
“The legal issue is whether Pell City has the right to pursue condemnation,” said Pell City attorney Dwight Blair, who is representing the property owners, Pell City-Tifton Properties, LLC., a subsidiary of Thunder Enterprises of Chattanooga. “We say they are not.”
Thunder Enterprises of Chattanooga bought the Avondale Mills property, including the well site, in 2007, a year after the Pell City plant closed its doors.
According to documents obtained by The Daily Home, the city had an option to renew a 20-year well lease with Avondale but fail to do so within the required time frame. The only requirement under the now expired lease agreement between the city and Avondale Mills was that the city provides water at no charge to the company.
Now Pell City-Tifton Properties, LLC, the new owner of the property, is asking $1 million for the well site, located along U.S. 231.
Initially the company asked $1.9 million for the well site.
In January, Horton said the price for the property was determined by an independent expert hired by the company, who is knowledgeable about land/water rights.
The city hired its own appraiser, who appraised the property value at $310,000, a price rejected by Pell City-Tifton Properties officials.
If Bowlin rules the city can condemn the property, the judge will then appoint a 3-member commission to decide how much the property is worth.
By law, Bowlin has 10 days to rule on the condemnation mater and another 10 days to appoint a commission, if he rules that Pell City can condemn the property.
City officials say the well is vital to the city and supplied 28 percent of the city’s water supply in 2007.
City officials say the well produces about 637,000 gallons of water per day, which is about 55 percent of its maximum pumping capacity or 1.152 million gallons a day.
Pell City-Tifton Properties, LLC, continues to lease the well to the city for $2,000 per month while the status of the property remains in question.