PRINCETON — The Bureau County Board approved the purchase of the Bureau County Republican building at 800 Ace Road for $725,000 at its meeting Tuesday night with plans to convert it into a new jail.
The vote was 24-0 in favor of the motion to buy the 14-year-old building in the Princeton Technology Park.
Board members also voted to take money from the county's reserves from the 2007 sale of Prairie View Nursing Home to pay for the BCR building outright.
These votes were taken after the board went into a 10-minute executive session to discuss the purchase of real estate. Sheriff Jim Reed and Jim Shipp of the sheriff's department stayed for the brief closed session.
After the meeting, board member Keith Cain said buying the BCR building will save taxpayers an estimated $2 million to $3 million versus constructing a new building to be used as a jail.
"We have a design, and an architect working on it," Cain added. He said there will be a period as long as at least 120 days of due diligence on the sale before renovation begins on the building.
Cain also said the sale is not contingent on the passage of a referendum to increase the county's sales tax rate by a half percent that will be on the primary ballot for county voters on March 20.
At its December meeting, board members decided to place the referendum on the ballot to pay for a law enforcement center, but didn't make a decision at that time on the purchase of real estate that had been on the meeting's agenda.