Davis County commissioners, in a rare 2-1 vote, have decided to buy an additional 57 acres in west Farmington as part of the new jail complex site.
Commission Chairman Harold J. Tippetts said the $660,000 deal will save the county money in the long term while providing future expansion capabilities for the jail and the possibility of a new county fair site during the interim.Commissioner Glen E. Saunders voted against the purchase. Saying that while he generally shares the same viewpoints as Tippetts and Commissioner William L. Peters, he believes the purchase does not require immediate action. He said that although property values in the area will escalate due to installation of utilities and other improvements to serve the jail site, he believes there is no imminent price escalation in the real estate market.
Tippetts and Peters believe differently and feel the purchase will prove prudent. Tippetts said the move will save the county from facing a dilemma similar to the one that forced the county to relocate the jail. He said the county simply ran out of room at its present location, and he wants to prevent that from happening again.
Tippetts said the county has been considering three land parcels for the jail site. Two parcels totaling 43 acres were purchased with proceeds from a voter-approved $18.5 million bond issue. The third, containing 57 acres, will be paid for with surplus income from a bond sale originally intended for construction of two hospitals in the county. Those bonds were sold in the early 1970s but were never used because the planned hospitals were eventually constructed by private companies.
An attempt was made in about 1978 to recall the bonds but that effort was unsuccessful. Because the bond issue predated present laws forbidding government agencies from investing bond money to generate windfall profits through interest income, no such restriction affects the county. Over the years, interest income on the bond money has been used for one-time expenditures such as capital improvements or new equipment. Tippetts said sufficient money is kept in the account to make required interest and principal payments on the bonds.
Tippetts said the additional land will likely be used for recreational purposes such as an equestrian park or for buildings to house county fair activities. For the past three years, the county has contracted with Davis School District to use facilities at Davis High in Kaysville for the fair. The county formerly held the fair on land adjacent to Lagoon. Expansion plans at the amusement park caused cancellation of the lease agreement for the fair activities.
Locating the fair adjacent to the jail will have other benefits, Tippetts said. Jail trusties could be used to maintain the fair buildings and the equestrian park, cutting maintenance costs for the facilities.
Four years ago the county bought about 40 acres in west Kaysville, intending to build a fair site and industrial park. That plan was abandoned because of access problems and the land is currently considered surplus and is for sale. Tippetts said any money realized from the sale of that land will be used for other county needs at the time it is received.