The Grand County Council has approved a 5 percent increase in the amount the county charges the state of Utah to lease the courthouse building that houses the 7th District and Juvenile courts in Moab.
According to county documents, Grand County has been leasing the facility to the state for the use of approximately 12,000 square feet of office space, including the common areas that are shared with the county’s own Justice Court.
Under the newly approved five-year agreement, which covers fiscal years 2014-2018, the state will pay a base sum of $13.19 per square foot, up from the $12.56 per square foot Utah has paid during the past six years. The state had also been taking advantage of a 3 percent lump-sum discount included in the previous contract by making annual payments, county officials said during this week’s county council meeting on Tuesday, July 16.
Grand County Council Administrator Ruth Dillon told the council that she had initially asked the state for a 15 percent increase, which would have raised the lease fee to $14.14 per square foot with the 3 percent discount still available. After negotiations, a 5 percent counteroffer was accepted, with the lump-sum discount dropping to 0.65 percent instead of 3 percent, Dillon said. The negotiated lump-sum discount covers only the first year, Dillon said, noting that the amount of the discount in future years may fluctuate somewhat as it will be tied to the state’s Public Treasurers Investment Fund.
The council unanimously approved the new agreement by a 6-0 vote.
Dillon said that even with the 5 percent increase, the new amount is still lower than the going rate for commercial office space in Moab, which ranges from $15 to $21 per square foot per year, based on information from local real estate agents. Also, it is still lower than the average lease rate for court space statewide, which is $14.88 per square foot, according to county documents.
After the discounts are taken into account, Grand County will receive an increase of approximately $11,000 in lease payments from the state for the use of the courthouse, according to the new agreement. The annual lease payments for the years 2014-18 will be approximately $156,400, which is roughly 7 percent higher than the $145,400 per year that the state has paid since 2008.
When the state began leasing the courthouse in 1993, the rate was $8.25 per square foot, county officials said.