TNS concludes three transactions on Head Start properties in Mineral Wells, Granbury | Local News
Texas Neighborhood Services has announced the closing of Head Start properties in Mineral Wells and Granbury this week.
Property in the 700 block of Garrett Morris Parkway was sold to Central Texas Opportunities for $1.25 million last week. The land was valued by an independent appraiser in 2016, 2019 and in October of 2021. The sale was managed by Carlos Maldonado of Palo Pinto County Abstract Co.
“We are excited the federal government finally exercised its regulations mandated by Congress to allow the owner of the federal property not in use to be sold to the new grantee for use in serving children,” TNS board President Jeanette Ender, who is also a real estate agent in Mineral Wells, said. “We had an interim rental agreement to allow the Head Start Contractor CDI out of Denver Co to use the property in 2016, but delays by the federal government over a year allowed CDI to spend $500,000 in purchasing another building on Highway 180 west of town and then spend at least another $1 million remodeling the building.
“That’s $1.5 million which was spent on buildings and facilities that should have been spent providing services to children.”
According to a press release, the property’s value increased the sales price by approximately $300,000 due to federal delays, which prevent TNS from closing on the property until now. The approximately six acres, which includes two buildings and parkings, is located next to another 3.7 acres of land that TNS still owns, with frontage on Garrett Morris Parkway.
No services were provided to Palo Pinto County children and families in classrooms from July 2016-2019. At the time TNS’s grant was removed, the program was providing services to 200 children at an annual cost of $9,500, according to the release.
One property in Granbury, located in the 100 block of Stone Street, was sold to Lutheran Services of the South, doing business as Upbring Head Start, for $620,000. Paperwork was signed by TNS in April, but due to “technical difficulties,” funding didn’t occur until May 23, according to a release, and delays in determining the property value mean CDI Head Start and Upbring Head Start owes TNS a combined more than $256,000 in back rent since 2017 as part of a rental value agreement between the parties.
The federal government also released a federal interest on a building located at 1600 Pearl St., which has an estimated value of $700,000. The building is currently being remodeled with the intent to sell it.
“It is truly saddening the federal government delayed for years the settlement of the real estate with Texas Neighborhood Services,” TNS Executive Director Brad Manning said. “The Office of Head Start still has not closed out the grant award for TNS’s grant from June 30, 2016. Currently they owe our organization over $1 million in additional closeout costs incurred and back rent. As these costs incurred were mandated by federal regulations, we fully anticipate the Office of Head Start will have to repay our organization.”
In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services denied continued Head Start funding, calling TNS a “high risk” applicant due to a “number of fiscal issues.” But the following year, a CPA who audited TNS said the nonprofit was financially able to operate into the future, according to a previous Weatherford Democrat article.
CDI Head Start was named the interim Head Start provider for the area and reopened many facilities but was unable to reach an agreement with TNS for use of some facilities previously used by TNS and only home-based services were offered in some areas, leading to a drop in enrollment.
TNS audited financials from April 2016 indicated the organization had almost $2 million of cash on hand at the time the “determination” was made, which was how TNS was able to pay $1 million in closeout costs and an additional $1 million of repayment costs for the disallowance claimed by Head Start back in 2013, according to the press release. TNS used part of the proceeds of these sales to repay the remaining disallowance from Head Start.
During that time, TNS was able to successfully continue to provide utility and rental assistance to low-income families in Parker, Wise, Johnson, Hood, Palo Pinto, Somervell and Erath counties, and the organization continues to serve the community with nonprofit Operation Texas Strong to provide services to homeless veterans in these counties.