Yellowstone County will pursue buying residential property across the street from its jail to help with parking problems.
In a 2-1 vote on Tuesday, county commissioners decided to proceed with a purchase agreement for 3150 King Ave. E., which appraised at $265,000 for 1.49 acres.
Commissioners John Ostlund and Jim Reno voted to approve the purchase, while Commission Chairman Bill Kennedy voted against it.
The latest appraisal, by David J. Moen and dated Jan. 14, was $13,200 more than a December 2014 appraisal of the property.
Sheriff Mike Linder had asked the commission in December to consider buying the property because the jail needs more parking spaces and the parcel would help ease congestion at the jail and make it safer for visitors and staff.
Linder became aware of the possible sale of the property more than a year ago, but issues with the owner placed the project on the back burner. A few months ago, the owner contacted the sheriff to notify him that the property was going to be sold.
Kennedy, who was against getting the appraisal, said on Tuesday the county should revisit use of other property it has purchased down the road on the 3300 and 3400 blocks of King Avenue East before it buys more land.
Ostlund called the opportunity a good purchase for the jail to help meet its needs into the future.
Reno also supported the purchase saying the sheriff had asked for it.
The county cannot buy the land for more than appraised value. The purchase also is subject to an inspection of the property.