The Outagamie County board voted Wednesday night to use eminent domain to buy a property in Appleton’s northeast business park for the sheriff’s department.
The proposal passed on a 17-to-11 vote, with many supervisors saying they had a tough time supporting the use of eminent domain, but felt it was necessary.
The owner of the building along East Goodland Drive already had accepted an offer from a business that wanted to expand into the building.
Sheriff Brad Gehring says he feels badly for that business, but the site is a perfect fit for his department. He says the project will be $2 million cheaper, than the county’s backup plan, and the timeline for moving in will be faster.
County officials say they felt they had to use eminent domain, because the county wasn’t allowed to make a counter offer on the property.
The real estate broker who was working with the business that wanted to expand into the Goodland Drive property says he’s disappointed by the county board’s decision.
John Pfefferle is also a former Outagamie County supervisor. He called the decision “county goverment at its poorest.”
Pfefferle also disputes the county’s claim that it wasn’t allowed to give a counter offer. He says e-mails between the county and property owner explicitly say that the county would not be willing to offer a counter on price.