After hearing about the county’s plans to eventually move the Oconee County Library from Experiment Station Road to a future administrative building on land just outside city limits, Watkinsville Councilman Dan Matthews made a public plea with Board of Commissioners Chairman John Daniell.
“Let us know,” he said at a BOC Town Hall last Thursday at the Oconee Civic Center. “Let us annex property six months before you do it. I’m just saying from my point of view, it would have been nice to annex property a year ago than have to wait now.”
Daniell said the county did everything it could to keep administrative offices as close to the city limits as possible. Ultimately, it chose 7.63 acres across from the Watkinsville Fire Station.
“We could have purchased property cheaper farther out of the city,” he said. “This piece of property was attractive because of its proximity to the city limits so that it could be annexed at some time.”
The county has not yet announced a timetable for the construction of the new administrative building, but officials said the library would be located on the first floor.
Oconee County purchased the 7.63 acres for $650,000, or $85,109 per acre, despite it being assessed by the Oconee Property Appraisal Office at $227,518, or $29,818 per acre.
Chief Appraiser Allen Skinner explained that the county is required by state law to assess land based on its zoning. Because the land was zoned agricultural, its value reflected the fact that it was wooded and undeveloped. Oconee County purchased the property knowing that it will need to rezone the property for commercial use.
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