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Ceres courthouse going to state, not city
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The Ceres court building must be turned over by the county to the state may not sell it to the city of Ceres.

Last week the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors approved a deal to turn the building at 2744 Second Street in Ceres over to the state of California Judicial Council Administrative Office of the Courts. The deal calls for the county to pay the state $16,421 annually for maintenance and continue being responsible for earthquake liability for 35 years.

Supervisor Jim DeMartini, who represents Ceres on the board, was not happy about the issue. He said "we're giving it away and paying them on top of it."

"The county owns it but the state passed a bill taking every courthouse in California," said DeMartini. "When they're taking it they're making the county pay for the maintenance and we have to make sure it's structurally sound for 35 years. That's hardly what I call fair."

City officials were hoping to buy the 2,700-square-foot building on a 7,500 square foot lot, which could have been converted to city offices. But the Trial Court Facilities Act of 2002 forbids counties from deeding buildings over to other government agencies.

The transfer is set to take place before Dec. 31.

DeMartini voted to approve the deal, saying later that "they told us we had no choice. There are penalties involved."

"It is such a lousy deal the state just rips off cities and counties every time they can."

The county already has turned over the Traffic Court, a leased facility at 2260 Floyd Avenue in Modesto.