Craig city officials have made an offer to Moffat County concerning the Craig Police Department’s lease of the Moffat County Public Safety Center, mayor Don Jones said Wednesday.
The offer was made during a meeting Tuesday night, the mayor said. He said he wouldn’t comment on the dollar figure attached to the offer.
Releasing the amount of the offer, Jones said, “wouldn’t be fair to both parties” and the city would keep the specifics of the offer under wraps until county officials discuss it.
“That was our third meeting, so all we have done in these meetings is throw around figures, and so we threw around a figure and we’ll go from there and see what their response is,” he said.
The city and county began discussing several months ago what the police department should pay in rent at the safety center.
Lease negotiations stem from an agreement made about a decade ago that the city would provide the land for the safety center if the county provided free rent for the police department for 10 years.
The rent-free decade for the police department, however, ends in August 2011.
During initial discussions, the county commission presented possible future lease costs based on the current operating costs of the building, which would place the lease cost at $256,591 per year to the city.
Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner said the county was receptive of the city’s offer and plans to discuss the offer in an executive session during a meeting this morning.
“We’re all still operating on getting a fair and reasonable agreement with all of us in the building,” she said. “That is what we have operated on and will continue to operate under until one or the other side says, ‘It’s not working.’”
Jones said he was pleased with how negotiations are proceeding.
“Everything is fine,” he said. “Nobody has jumped up and screamed and hollered or ran out. We are all adults and just negotiating — no problems.”
Danner agreed, adding, “It’s a very workable relationship.”
“I have every intention that we’ll continue to look at all of the components of the decision until both sides say, ‘You know, we don’t seem to be getting there,’” Danner said. “And right now, we are not there and we’ll keep moving forward.”
The meetings between members of the county commission and city council are not an attempt to hide information, Jones said, but rather to “work out some details.”
“I don’t think it is hush-hush,” he said. “I just think it is a small group trying to work out some details and once the details are submitted, everybody will know.
“It is not like it is going to be a done deal. Everybody will have a chance to comment.”
Council member Jennifer Riley agreed with the mayor.
“When it comes to negotiating contracts or sales or those types of things … we have the right to do that in executive session,” she said. “We do that to preserve some of the … hashing out (of) the details because it is the details that tend to trip people up.”
Riley also said the city and county didn’t want the discussions to become “very political and publicized.”
“But, now that we have come to an agreement as a council about what we feel we are willing to do with regard to the public safety center, we have given that to the county commissioners, and once they’ve had a chance to review it … we will be more than happy to state publicly what we are willing to offer,” she said.
However, Riley said she was unsure of where negotiations would go with the county now that an offer has been made.
“The city has put together what we feel is a more than fair offer for the county and it’s in the best interest of the citizens of Craig, but I have no idea what the county’s position is going to be,” she said.