After several back and forth discussions the county has made an offer to the school district to purchase land adjacent to the Fair Grounds. With a vote of 4 to 2 in favor, the council approved an offer to the school district of $59,800. The council also stipulated that the county would not participate in the surveying or fencing costs. The purchase will be paid for from the restaurant tax fund. Members Nelson and Kippen voted against the offer and member Kilmer, who works for the school district, abstained. Member Nelson expressed concern that the county was paying more per acre than the school district had paid in their recent purchase.
The school district had asked for $60,000, and for the county share the costs of fencing and surveying. While this cost is more per acre than the school district paid for the land, they have asserted that two acres of the ground they purchased next to the river is not usable. The school district said that they arrived at the number by dividing their purchase price by the usable acres. The school district purchased the land to build a new bus garage.
The county has used this property, in the past, as space for overflow parking for the fair. They faced a situation where the land would be fenced off by the school district and would not be available for parking if they did not authorize this purchase. The fair board had requested that the council find a way to acquire the land. This year will be the one hundredth anniversary of the Morgan County Fair and the fair board is expecting a large fair with record numbers of attendees.
The offer is lower than the one approved by the school board, according to superintendent Adams. This offer will now go before the school board in their meeting next week. The district has told the county that they need a decision in order to move forward with planning for the bus garage.