UPDATE: Controversy Over County Owned Shed

UPDATE: The Lee County Board of Supervisors held their weekly meeting on Tuesday and once again the county owned shed in Argyle was a major discussion point.

Argyle residents would like to see the shed torn down and the property sold while the Board said there are further steps that must be taken before they can officially dispose of the shed and the property.

Here is the discussion from the meeting:

Comments in the audio are from Gary Folluo, Matt Pflug, Rick Larkin and Ron Fedler from the Board, Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise, Lee County Engineer Ernie Steffensmeier and residents of Argyle and other areas of Lee County including Sheryl Pruin, who brought the issue before the board on Oct. 9.

Here is an interview with Pruin from after the meeting:

The Lee County Board of Supervisors met on Tuesday morning and with a shorter agenda, most of the meeting was spent on public input.

A point of contention was raised by Argyle resident Sheryl Pruin about a county owned shed that is located next to her property.

The shed has come under disrepair and Pruin said they have talked with the Board in the past, yet nothing was ever done with the shed last year.

This original contact was in March of 2017 and Pruin provided pictures for the Board of what the shed looked like then and what it looks like now with the shape of the shed becoming worse over the past year and a half.

“At the time Mr. Hunold came up he did agree that something needed to be done with the shed. That has been 20 months ago and the shed is in worse condition than it was then,” Pruin said.

Shed in March 2017.-SUBMITTED PHOTO
Shed in October 2018.-SUBMITTED PHOTO

Pruin also said that when they contacted the Board they did offer to buy the property and the citizens in the area have taken care of the property themselves which has saved the county quite a bit of money.

“Good citizens of Argyle have mowed this property for the last 11 years. The county has never even mowed it,” Pruin said. “So I did a little rough estimate here, we’ll make the math easy. We’ll figure 10 years, 24 mows a year, $50 a mow to include the mowing time plus the chemicals. We have saved you $12,000 in the last 10 years.”

Board Chairman Don Hunold said when the initial contact was made, he passed along to the correct channels and has talked to them again recently after the shed was discussed at last week’s meeting.

“I’ve asked these guys to fix the doors, cut the trees down on the backside and secure the building, and that was only two days ago. I also called those folks better than a year ago and said ‘you’ve got some issues over there, go over there and get them taken care of. I did not follow up with it, didn’t think I needed to, obviously I probably needed to,” Hunold said.

“They can secure that building. We have two rules of thinking here, one says the building’s junk and I as a farmer don’t think that building’s junk.”

According to conversations Hunold has had in the past, the shed is being kept for storage purposes.

The question was raised by Pruin of what will be stored in there as the bulldozer in the shed has apparently sunk a few inches into the mud and has rusted around the ignition.

Supervisors Matt Pflug and Hunold said more discussion was needed with other parties before a decision regarding the shed could be made.

“I think we need to get Ernie [Steffensmeier, County Engineer] in here and work through this thing. I mean if he can present to us why he needs that building, we need to entertain that. However, I can understand where you’re coming from. Do you we improve upon it and post it as no trespassing?” Pflug said.

“If that building is going to remain in Lee County’s possession, we need to take care of it, keep the grass mowed and everything else,” Hunold said.

Pruin expressed a want to get something figured out with the shed as soon as possible.

“I guess at this point I just want a time frame because I’m not going to wait another two years before something gets done,” Pruin said. 

Supervisor Gary Folluo said she would not have to.

“I want to talk to Ernie and I want a plan for the property, I want to know where are boundaries are and I want it taken care of,” Folluo said.

We will have more updates as this story continues to progress.

Below is a Letter to the Editor written by Pruin that was distributed to local media:

Dear Editor,

I am writing in regard to the front page article on October 3, 2018 regarding the shed in Argyle owned by Lee County.  I want to thank Mr. Harlow for bringing this matter to the supervisors attention. I live next to the County shed. In March of 2017, a board member was contacted about the condition of the shed. The board member did not even know that the county owned the shed. He did come out and look at it and said that he was in agreement that improvements needed to be made. In June of 2018, a windstorm blew the doors off of the building and part of the wood structure onto our property. We placed the doors back up by the shed and notified the board member.  The doors still remain were we set them and 20 months later, nothing has been done to repair or remove the structure. Argyle may be small, but we are a good community with good people. The supervisors lack of action says to me that they want our votes and our taxes but don’t care enough to do what is right. I do not consider myself a very political person, but I will be at the poles in November. Mr. Harlow has done more for my community in 3 days than the board has done in 2 years. Mr Harlow, thank you. I will show my appreciation at the poles in November.

Sheryl Pruin