Because of the lack of bids received to acquire a lease for the Wild Goose Ranch, the Board of Churchill County Commissioners, along with the District Attorney’s Office voted to revise details and repost the lease.
At the meeting held Jan. 17, Chief Deputy at the DA Benjamin Shawcroft said the office did not receive any written or oral bid for the 620-acre irrigated property on Pioneer Way, considering the conditions of the ranch.
Request for bids launched Dec. 7 by the county with a minimum bid of $215 per acre, totaling $133,300 annually. The terms of the lease allow for a $40,000 credit from the county to apply towards utility costs.
“We’re not at a market yet for this lease and we have a lot of things working against us,” Shawcroft said. “Most notably with the conditions of the ranch. We’ll be paying for it and we need to reevaluate our minimum bid for the property.”
The County purchased the property in 2004 from Wild Goose Limited Partnership. In 2008, the lease was assigned to a local rancher for about five years.
Shawcroft said maintenance repairs on the ranch include pivots, pumps, and wells to avoid damages. He said reducing the lease amount is not possible because of the appraisal value of $215 an acre, along with utilities to help cover some of the repairs.
But due to the ranch’s conditions, repairs could go above the utility credit, which could reduce the cost of the acres. Shawcroft said the ranch is a crucial investment is a concern for the first two years of the lease, along with renovating areas of the ranch.
“Once the property improves and becomes more profitable, we could start reducing things such as taxes and utilities,” Shawcroft said.
Concerns were expressed through public comment, such as if the county is going to make equipment on the ranch serviceable before the contract starts, or if the future tenant would get reimbursed for it at the county’s expense.
“It’s the county’s responsibility for major components,” Shawcroft said. “The equipment is not new but should be working. We know pumps are being repaired and pivots are next. If there’s something else out there that needs to be fixed, I don’t know if we’ll have the personnel.”
Chair Commissioner Pete Olsen said opening the bid is worth another chance.
“We want everything to work and protect the assets of the ranch,” he said. “We want the property to be taken care of and somebody to enjoy it.”
As the lease is undergoing edits, the bids for the ranch can be seen in local classifieds or ads, or contact Shawcroft at 775-428-0217 or at the Churchill County District Office,165 North Ada Lane.