Malheur County Commissioner Don Hodge
VALE – The public can speak out at a hearing Monday, Dec. 30, about Malheur County’s plan to dip into the county budget to buy industrial land in Nyssa.
The Malheur County Court will conduct the public hearing at 9 a.m. at the courthouse. Anyone can address the court about the budget change being proposed.
The commissioners intend to take $969,900 from the county’s rainy day fund to close a gap to pay $3 million for empty land north of Nyssa. The hearing is required by law because the county is spending more than half of its contingency fund, budgeted for this year for a total of $1.7 million.
DOCUMENT: Malheur County Court hearing notice
The money is needed to buy a 290-acre parcel of land from the Farmer family. The land, along the Union Pacific Railroad track, will be the site for the planned Treasure Valley Reload Center and the county’s planned industrial park.
Malheur County officials originally expected the state Transportation Department to put up the money for what is now farmland. State officials said $26 million set aside for the rail shipping center could be used only for the land needed for the reload center, about 65 acres.
To close the land deal next month, the county is borrowing $2 million from a state development fund and is turning to the county’s treasury to come up with the rest.
A county-hired appraiser concluded in October that the property was worth $2 million. Greg Smith, Malheur County economic development director, explained later that the county agreed to a $3 million deal in July 2018 because the cost per acre was similar to what a Canadian company paid for property in Vale in 2017.
The county has delayed plans to buy a second industrial property in Nyssa. An agreement executed in July 2018 commits the county to pay $394,600 for that 79-acre parcel, and the county is hoping to get an additional loan from the state to cover that deal.
The land is owned by Nyssa Industries Inc., a company in which County Commissioner Larry Wilson has a small stake. He has recused himself from voting on matters affecting that acquisition.
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How the Enterprise produced its story on county land deal, finances
Malheur County leaders mum as appraisal shows land value $1 million less than they agreed to pay
County taxpayers to be tapped nearly $1 million to buy Nyssa property, state reports
Malheur County plans borrowing to buy up private industrial land for future projects
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