MILTON — Monday, Santa Rosa commissioners discussed seeking a cost analysis on three properties for a new judicial center. Thursday, they instead chose one location for the future site.
In a three to two vote, the board moved to make an offer of $850,000 on the 13- to 19-acre property JDL of Santa Rosa LLC owns. Commissioner Sam Parker made the motion with Commissioner Bob Cole seconding and the third vote coming from Commissioner Don Salter. Chairman Rob Williamson and Commissioner Lane Lynchard voted against the measure.
Parker’s motion stated:
The county will offer $850,000, countering the $1,159,000 amount, for the full 19 acres from its request for proposal.
JDL of Santa Rosa LLC has 10 days to respond.
Santa Rosa County then has a 75-day due diligence period to ensure the site is acceptable.
If the county moves forward at the end of the 75 days, it will have an additional 30 days to close on the property.
Monday, the board decided to vote Thursday to direct staff to perform cost analyses on three sites: the southeast corner of Old Bagdad Highway and Pine Forest Road, Guidry Land Development LLC’s property located at Avalon Boulevard at the Moors Lake development, and JDL of Santa Rosa, LLC’s property located at the intersection of Avalon Boulevard near Mulat Road.
Thursday, Parker said he was ready to decide on the JDL property.
“No matter what happens today or in two months, there will be people who agree and don’t agree,” Parker said. “We owe it to the citizens to move projects forward and get projects done.”
Both Williamson and Lynchard said this decision was too hasty.
Lynchard was concerned about going forward on a property without the half-cent sales tax the board wants to use to pay for the new judicial center.
“If … we go out to referendum next year and we’re not successful, then we still have this property on Avalon and we are stuck with a location forevermore,” he said. “I think that could lead to problems down the road.”
Williamson asked Parker to reconsider his motion.
“There is a fine line between courageous and reckless,” Williamson said. “I understand expediency but this decision … is surprising to me, but that’s why there are five of us elected.”