When the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District voted this month to offer Palm Beach County $26 million for a former citrus grove, the same value determined by an appraiser hired by the county, the district’s board was not told of another county appraisal that had valued the property between $14.8 and $22.5 million.
The $26 million offer for the Mecca Farms site also is $5 million higher than the value determined by the district’s appraiser, so whatever appraisal is considered, the offer appears to counter a state policy recommending that water management districts not pay more than 90 percent of an appraised value for land.
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Eyes on the environment
Christine Stapleton covers environmental issues for The Palm Beach Post. Over the past year she wrote exclusives about efforts by South Florida water managers to have billboards erected on public lands, and about favorable land leases given to cattle ranchers with ties to water district officials.