County makes ‘last best’ offer for land in justice system before filing for Eminent Domain

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On March 1, Benton County commissioners unanimously approved the use of significant lands as a way to obtain the land they wanted for the construction of the new justice system. Now the commissioners have said they are offering $5.477 million for the 29.53-acre land about a mile north of downtown — calling it their “last and best offer.”

This would equate to a payment of just over $185,470 per acre – just over the $75,000 per acre land guard found in Monroe. However, the district wants to build on this area after examining many options for a year and a half.

Facilities Benton County plans to build on this land include mental health services, as well as a new courthouse, emergency room, sheriff’s offices and a new correctional facility with several additional beds.

Currently, the courthouse is 50% funded from state grants, with the county raising the other 50% through a “loan” repaid from the general fund.

The other facilities will be part of a bond move that voters should see on their ballots in May 2023.

Eminent domain

If the choice to explain outstanding domain For this land, a series of steps mandated by the state have been put in place to ensure landowners are fairly compensated.

It started with the county declaring that this specific land was necessary and critical to the public interest. Now, Benton County is at the point where they’ve made their “last and best” offer — an amount they believe is a fair price. This declaration will move the discussion of the country to the Eminent Domain process.

“This decision is the result of a multi-year planning process and will ensure that we meet the timeline needed to mobilize millions of dollars in appropriate Oregon State funding for new justice facilities,” said Commissioner Chairwoman Nancy Wyse, in a press release. “While a negotiated sale would be ideal, the Board of Commissioners believe this is a fair offer for the current owner based on an independent valuation.”

The property owners have 40 days from receipt of the offer to accept or reject it. If they accept the offer, then things will move forward. If they decline the offer, the county will initiate a major domain filing in court.

construction

The first building on the site when the land sale is complete will be a new courthouse. The aim is to start construction in late summer 2022 – very soon.

The other four buildings and the prison will begin construction at a later date.

Benton County Sheriff Van Arsdall said, “We all want safe and healthy communities, and it’s important that we do so in a way that reflects our values ​​and uses limited resources wisely. We expect this new campus will support interagency efficiencies, improve emergency response and ensure offenders are both held accountable and given opportunities to receive treatment for issues they may be facing, including mental health or addiction. “

The old buildings

The courthouse is a historic building and will not be demolished. A committee was formed to find a new purpose for the building.

If you want to keep up to date with the Justice System Improvement Plan, you can Sign up here for updates.

By Sally K Lehman

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