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Gage County is buying another piece of property near the sheriff’s office to add parking and reduce vandalism.

The Gage County Board on Wednesday approved purchasing the alley between the jail and the former Buss Stop filling station, which the county previously bought to convert for evidence storage.

Sheriff Millard Gustafson said the alley will be closed to the public and added that one reason for the purchase was to prevent vandalism. Costly repairs have previously resulted from people in the alley throwing rocks at the jail windows, and closing the alley would be more secure.

“It just makes sense to not have to worry about it,” Gustafson said. "It will keep kids from walking there, throwing rocks that cost me a lot of money on those special windows.”

The alley was purchased from the city for $1,000, a price some board members balked at. Erich Tiemann made a counter proposal to approve the purchase for $100, saying $1,000 was too much.

“There’s certain people who think that there should be a higher dollar amount allocated for stuff like this,” he said. “…I really don’t think the money is the issue. It’s just that they needed a price and so they put something in there. I doubt that they’re really looking to get $1,000.”

Fellow board member Dennis Byars strongly agreed, saying municipalities shouldn’t profit off selling property to each other.

“I think it’s totally ridiculous as much as we do for the city and we’re supposedly cooperating with each other,” he said. “We should be paying them $1 instead of $1,000. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

Board member Gary Lytle said the county was essentially dragging the issue out. If an agreement to buy the property for $100 was approved it would then have to be considered by the city, and officials could counteroffer, resulting in a lengthy process.

Tiemann’s amendment to reduce the purchase price to $100 failed, and the board voted to buy the alley for $1,000.

Around one year ago the county board unanimously approved an agreement to buy the land and building at 620 N. Sixth St., directly north of the jail, for $250,000. It later voted to purchase the lot with a small residence next to Buss Stop for $65,000.

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Reach Scott Koperski at scott.koperski@beatricedailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottKoperski.

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