COLUMBIA - State agencies own far too much property in South Carolina, and much of it should be sold, Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday.
The first statewide inventory of property in at least a decade shows 109 agencies own nearly 12,300 pieces of property, said Budget and Control Board Director Marcia Adams. All buildings and other structures located on acreage count separately.
A final listing should be ready by June 30. The Budget and Control Board will then seek a contract for real estate management, to determine property's best use.
"South Carolina doesn't need to be in the real estate business," Haley said after Adams' presentation. "We need to get rid of a lot of this."
Haley has been asking for a tally of state property for three years. After continued resistance, she issued an executive order last October directing her 16 Cabinet agencies to provide an accounting and identify surpluses.
Other agencies participated voluntarily, including public universities and technical schools.
Adams applauded the Department of Employment and Workforce for already putting surplus property up for sale. According to the unemployment agency, it is listing 10 offices vacated through consolidation of services last year.
A contract for nearly $5 million is pending on one of those. The profits would be split between the unemployment agency and Budget and Control Board, a board spokeswoman said.
A breakdown by the Budget and Control Board shows the 12,284 assets consist of 2,160 pieces of land; 5,371 buildings; 4,503 structures such as a fence, light pole or signage; and 250 utility components such as pipelines or cables.
The total includes 87 assets under contract off Bull Street in Columbia on property years ago slated as surplus by the Department of Mental Health.
So far, an additional 11 have been identified as surplus; 21 others are vacant and could be sold or used for something else, according to an initial evaluation.
Haley said she's awaiting the final list to determine how much the state needs to liquidate.
"I want to see how much is actually being used. How much is empty? I want to see what we're using it for," Haley said. "This is just a no-brainer. This money does not need to be tied up because somebody forgot they own it."
Haley said she next wants an inventory of how many automobiles and cellphones agencies own.
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