Inspector accuses Palm Beach County of overpaying in land deal

Last year, Palm Beach County spent $2.4 million for a 1-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Silver Beach Road and U.S. 1. with a market value of about $626,000 after not doing an appraisal. Price Inspector General Sheryl Steckler called the transaction “way out of line with market conditions,” the Palm Beach Post reported.

To pay for the land, the county took $2.4 million from a $50 million bond issue approved in 2004 to buy the land to expand parking at the town’s marina, the Post said.

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“Why in a down market would you pay that much? By not doing an appraisal, the county has no documentation showing why they paid that price,” Steckler said.

Ross Hering, the director of the county’s properties and real estate management division, defended the price.

“Characterizing this as a simple real estate acquisition and focusing solely on the market value of the land acquired does not give adequate consideration to the public benefits derived from the overall project,” he said. [Palm Beach Post]

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