Escondido City Council members decided Wednesday to write a no-thank-you letter to the Palomar Pomerado Hospital District after hospital directors offered to sell back to the city the one-acre site on which the City Hall and former city fire station stands.
The city land and buildings adjacent to Palomar Hospital were purchased by the hospital district for $720,000 five years ago as a site for a future administrative annex. The district offer, delivered to the city Wednesday to sell back the property for $782,982, was greeted with anger and criticism by council members.
The council voted to inform hospital officials by letter that the city had no interest in buying back the entire property, but to add a postscript expressing interest in negotiating a deal to acquire the small firehouse and to preserve it as a historic site. The 47-year-old adobe building is now being used as a City Hall annex until the new City Hall is completed early next year.
Councilman Doug Best scored hospital officials for their "total arrogance" in dealing with the city.
"If they want to play hardball, we'll play hardball," Best said in recommending rejection of the hospital's all-or-nothing offer to sell the parcel of land to the city.