Utah County is having a clearance sale on property near the Utah County Jail, and Provo city likely will be its first customer.
The county offered to sell the city six parcels of land near the southeast Provo facility to raise money to construct a work-release unit at the new jail in Spanish Fork.City officials held a closed session Tuesday and only showed interest in buying two parcels totaling 24 acres. The land is adjacent to property the city currently owns near Bicentennial Park.
"It makes a lot of sense to pick up land where we already own land," Mayor George Stewart said.
Council members will decide Tuesday whether to spend $800,000 to purchase the two parcels. The city wants to pay the county $400,000 this year and $400,000 next year. This year's money would come from road and street funds. The source of next year's money has not yet been identified.
The city has no immediate plans for the land, but Stewart said the city needs to acquire land for future needs. The land is currently zoned for public facilities. One possibility being discussed is using the land for a new cemetery. Provo City Cemetery is expected to be full in about 10 years.
The county needs to raise $1.8 million to finish Pod C of the new jail to house the work-release unit. Officials planned to keep the work-release unit at the current jail, but they recently decided maintaining and staffing the old facility would be too expensive.
"From a management perspective it's just cost prohibitive to keep the work-release program at the old jail," Utah County Public Works Director Clyde Naylor said. "It would be like operating two jails."
However, funding for the new work-release unit is not included in the amount the county financed to build the jail. Naylor said several pieces of surplus property have been identified for sale to raise the money needed to complete the work-release unit.
State law allows one public entity to sell property to another public entity at appraised value without putting the property out for bid. Stewart doesn't believe private developers would be interested in the land because of its public-facilities zone.
If the work-release unit can be moved to the Spanish Fork facility, the county likely would move other programs out of the security center and sell the building. City officials and neighbors favor any plans that include shutting down the current jail.