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County stays with Grandview as site for district court

YAKIMA - Despite a last minute appeal from Sunnyside, the new Lower Valley District Court will be located in Grandview.

City officials traveled to the county commissioners' meeting in Yakima Tuesday to seek a delay in granting the court to Grandview.

"The logical location to best serve the citizens of the Lower Valley is Sunnyside," City Manager Bob Stockwell told commissioners in a prepared statement. "It is centrally located to the population that will be served by the Court."

Stockwell continued, "We are asking for a short delay in this process to allow us to negotiate in the same manner GVIEW Investments (a Bellevue-based firm) was allowed."

Sunnyside's latest offer to house the district court, delivered at 8:30 a.m. yesterday, came in at $1,048,000 for an 11-year total, or about $8,000 per month.

But the offer was well more than a day late and a dollar short, retorted District Court Manager Harold Delia.

"Their offer is still $100,000 more than what we negotiated with GVIEW Investments," Delia said. He noted negotiations began with Grandview for the court site, located on Wine Country Road, because its offer was the lowest.

Sunnyside's initial bid was over $2 million, then trimmed by half when the city saw the Grandview offer.

Stockwell explained to commissioners on Tuesday that the city's first offer assumed a five-year lease, since the bid proposal called for a five-year term followed by a pair of optional three-year leases. Since Sunnyside would have to build the district court, it felt it needed to amortize the costs in just five years.

Had Sunnyside known it could figure in an 11-year term, like Grandview did, then its offer would have been less expensive for the county, Stockwell contended.

Delia noted that the five-year and two three-year options were clearly noted in the bid proposal.

He and Commissioner Mike Leita took Sunnyside to task for calling for a delay so it could submit a less expensive bid after seeing the Grandview offer.

"Sunnyside's latest proposal is $1.5 million less than the original," Delia said. "I don't care how you put it, something happened to that money and I don't know where it went."

Leita added that the Grandview proposal allows the district court to set up shop in January, while Sunnyside's bid wouldn't open the court's doors for another 18 months.

Commissioner Jesse Palacios gave Sunnyside a nod of respect by motioning to delay granting the bid.

Pin-dropping silence followed the motion, with Commissioner Ron Gamache noting there was not a second.

Palacios, a Grandview resident, then moved to grant Grandview the district court site.

That motion received unanimous approval.

"We're finished," Stockwell said after the meeting, noting the city would not bring legal appeals against the county's choice of Grandview.

"County commissioners had to make a decision," he concluded. "We presented a proposal and they rejected it."

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