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County board extends lease to restaurant after buying parcel

The Jackass BBQ restaurant sits just north of the Ogle County Judicial Center, which is pictured behind the restaurant.
The Jackass BBQ restaurant sits just north of the Ogle County Judicial Center, which is pictured behind the restaurant.

Ogle County Board members were split Tuesday on the length of lease to offer their newly acquired tenant.

After a discussion, the board agreed to offer Andy Riegel, owner of Jackass BBQ, a 2-year lease with an option to extend it for an additional year.

Riegel's restaurant was already the tenant at 501 W. Washington St., Oregon, the property the county recently purchased from John Spoor for $150,000. The parcel is two doors away from the Ogle County Judicial Center.

Board member Dorothy Bowers, Byron, said she favored offering a 3-year lease to show "good faith."

Lyle Hopkins, Polo, on the other hand favored a 1-year lease to allow the county to take over the property for its own use sooner.

Board members have discussed using the property for parking or expansion of the judicial center if needed in the future.

"I'm not in favor of the county being in the rental business," Hopkins said.

Several board members spoke out in support of the 2-year lease.

Board chairman Kim Gouker, Byron, said as a government body, county officials could have the property taken off the real estate tax rolls, but decided to let it remain to allow other government bodies, such as the City of Oregon and Oregon School District, to continue to receive tax revenue from it.

Because of that decision, he said, the rent will be the same amount as the real estate taxes, and will vary from year to year.

For the coming year, Riegel will pay $795 quarterly because the county's tax bill for the property was $3,180.

"That's considerably less than he's paying now," Gouker said.

The money saved is to be used to make improvements on the building, saving the county that potential expense, Gouker said.

The board also agreed to strike a clause in the lease that would have required Riegel to change his restaurant's name.

"I've had several complaints about the name," Gouker said. "The Executive Committee thought it was 'edgy' but okay."

Board member Pat Saunders, Polo, said she does not believe the county has a right to force Riegel to change the name of the business, especially since it had already been established.

The Executive Committee agreed June 11 to recommend the 2-year lease to the county board.

Gouker said last week that the board is still considering purchasing the house between the restaurant and the judicial center.

The board authorized Gouker March 19 to spend up to $1,500 to hire an appraiser to determine the value of the house at 102 S. Fifth St., between the restaurant and judicial center, owned by Spoor and two others.

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