Before Utah County commissioners approve a land transaction on a parcel needed to improve traffic flow in the north part of the county, they first want to double check the property's appraisal.

They believe the asking price is about three times what they expected.The 1.49-acre parcel near 2000 West and State is owned by Jay and Sondra Holmstead and is needed for a future freeway interchange and signalized intersection into west Pleasant Grove and east American Fork.

Originally, county commissioners expected to pay $240,000 for the property, but the asking price is $650,000. And even though the county's share is still only $240,000, the commissioners said Tuesday they want to see the work sheets and understand the rationale behind the higher price before approving the purchase.

In addition, Utah County will pay up to $20,000 for expenses associated with relocating Holmstead Construction Co., currently housed in a building on the property. The county will also bear the costs of demolition of the building.

American Fork and Pleasant Grove will pick up the remaining $410,000, with Pleasant Grove paying $310,000 and American Fork paying $100,000, as outlined in an agreement with Utah County.

American Fork hopes to use the land to access 2000 West (Pleasant Grove address) from 620 and 390 South.

Commissioner Gary Herbert said he is aware of other land purchases made in the American Fork/Pleasant Grove area that haven't netted near the same amount.

"I'm surprised it's so high," he said.

Most of the land costs will be reimbursed with federal dollars, but Herbert says the county should still monitor the transaction.

"I'd like to see an appraisal. I'd feel a little better," he said.

Commissioner Jerry Grover said it's the responsibility of the sponsoring entity - in this case Utah County - to make certain tax dollars are spent wisely and to a standard that's acceptable.

Grover said appraisal methods vary and he wants to understand how the land value of the Holmstead piece was calculated.

County Engineer Clyde Naylor said the matter needs resolution by Sept. 15 so the project can move forward and to avoid increasing the overall cost by $230.14 per day, as agreed in the purchase contract.

Commissioners will discuss the issue again at their meeting Tuesday.