County Board considers facility acquisition

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

At today’s 9:00 a.m. work session meeting, the Benton County Commissioners engaged in a discussion whether to acquire a facility in Corvallis to co-locate County public services. The materials from the work session are available at https://www.co.benton.or.us/boc/page/board-commissioners-work-session-242.

In early October, the County Board appointed a negotiation team to enter into a letter of intent with the owner of the facility. The letter of intent agreement describes the terms and conditions for Benton County to purchase the facility, and the terms and conditions where the owner would sell the facility. The letter of intent includes a confidentiality clause during the “due diligence” phase to protect the facility owner and tenant. 

The County performed “due diligence” to include a building inspection, property appraisal, survey, review of requested documents, and engagement with the existing tenant.

Having completed due diligence to its satisfaction, the negotiating team brought a plan to acquire the facility to the Board of Commissioners’ for consideration this morning, December 17, 2019.

In his presentation to the Board, County Administrator Joe Kerby made the case for acquiring the facility.
“Since I began at Benton County I saw facility challenges across the County. We have critical space needs and a facility master plan has been on my list of performance goals since my first year,” said Kerby.

“Earlier this year I became aware of a property that would address our critical space needs, while also providing improved customer access and service for the public. One of the greatest selling factors of this property is that it is within 0.25 mi of our Sunset Building. The geographic location combined with the sheer physical size of the facility advances our vision of a one-stop-shop customer service center. We will co-locate our customer-facing departments, and provide ample parking for the public. Further, I believe the co-location will further operational efficiencies and stewardship of tax dollars.”

If the Board of Commissioners approves the proposed acquisition, initially the County will purchase the facility using cash, then complete financing to offset the purchase. Chief Financial Officer Mary Otley presented the financial options, which included bank financing or bond sale. Both financing options offer tax-exempt financing, with a bond sale offering wider term options compared with a typical bank- financed term of 15 years.

Benton County Counsel Vance Croney and Facilities Division Manager outlined the timeline for next steps. The Board will meet on January 7, 2020 at the regularly scheduled noon meeting, and the agenda will include time to deliberate and discuss the facility acquisition. If the Board votes to sign the purchase and sale agreement, the closing is scheduled for February 14, 2020.