MILTON — Santa Rosa commissioners during their 9 a.m. Thursday meeting may have guidelines available for those interested in donating land for a new judicial center.
A lengthy discussion Monday resulted in tentative changes to the draft of the request for proposals. The board decided proposals must have at least 10 acres of land. Once the RFP goes out, people will have 30 days to submit proposals to the county. The county will respond to those submissions within 90 days of the RFP's release.
The major change to the draft RFP included in the backup documentation to Monday’s meeting involved price.
The original draft required submissions to include the property’s price. Monday’s discussion resulted in the county seeking property donations before properties for sale.
Commissioner Sam Parker restarted the courthouse location discussion in March when he presented to the board a 15-acre donation from Edwin Henry and suggested the board seek other donations.
Commissioner Don Salter expressed concern that focusing on seeking property donations instead of being open to buying will delay the process.
“We should not let free land dictate a $45 million investment … We’ve let the location undermine the need for a courthouse,” Salter said.
Salter proposed a way to move past the decision of whether to buy property. If at the end of this RFP, the county hasn’t found suitable land, Salter will suggest the board find property that serves the most people, take money from the capital reserves, and buy it.
“It’s imperative we choose the right location, not what is free,” he said.