• 81°

County aims to resell retorts

The Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors took action at its regular September meeting to allow for the resale of retorts that the county owns at the Prince Edward County Cannery.

Wade Bartlett

Retorts are large metal containers in which hot water/steam is heated to sterilize the food already in cans or glass jars.

“We have two retorts that we bought with Tobacco Commission funding probably eight years ago at the cannery,” County Administrator Wade Bartlett said during the meeting. “They have not been used to their potential. Some of that was a learning process. The commercial canning out there can move forward — and does — with our own retort, and most of them don’t even go in the retort. They can what they call … ‘hot bath’ and meet all the commercial requirements for low-acid foods.”

Bartlett noted that the retorts are large and take up a notable amount of space.

“We would like that space,” he said. “We’ve talked to the Tobacco Commission; they will allow us to sell those. We will not get much for them compared to what we paid for them, but we used Tobacco Commission funding.

“And then once we sell (them), we’ll have to go back to the Tobacco Commission,” he continued. “They said they may allow us to keep the money to use to buy other items. They may not, but whether they do or not, we need the space that they take up.”

Bartlett then outlined the board action that will be necessary to resell the retorts.

“So what I’m asking is that the board declare those two items surplus and allow me to sign an 18-month contract with the company that will try to sell them for us,” he said. “And we have stipulated in there that it would be $20,000 for one, the large one, $12,000 for the other.”

If the maximum offers the company receives do not meet those minimums, Bartlett said the company would come back to the county and ask how to proceed.

For the large one, “if it’s ($20,000) or more, they’ll just go ahead and sell it,” he said.

Robert M. “Bobby” Jones

Farmville 701 District Supervisor and Board Chairman Jim Wilck asked for a motion and a second to declare the surplus, and he received both, but before the vote, Lockett District Supervisor Robert M. “Bobby” Jones asked a question about the company that would be contracted.

“I guess they do that on commission, resell them?” he asked.

“Yes,” Bartlett said.

“So do we get ($20,000)?” Jones asked. “The commission comes out of that?”

“Let me double check on that, but I’ve got it right here,” Bartlett said, looking through the papers in front of him. “And they’re also going to pay for the trucking. See, that will take it up to their place where they’ll try to sell it. They’re going to come and get it.”

Finding the information he was going to double check, Bartlett confirmed, “We will get the ($20,000) and the ($12,000) …”

The ensuing board vote was unanimous in favor of declaring the two retorts surplus and allowing Bartlett to sign an 18-month contract with the company that will aim to resell them.