Under the Dome

NC Senate leader Phil Berger 'still looking' at Dorothea Dix deal

Days after several Republican Senators criticized a deal to sell the Dorothea Dix property to Raleigh, Senate leader Phil Berger says he’s “still looking at it.”

Berger wasn’t ready Wednesday to back the deal, which Gov. Pat McCrory announced on Monday and sells the 308-acre property to Raleigh for $52 million.

“I like the process that has been engaged in at this point,” Berger said. “We want to make sure that taxpayers of the state receive fair consideration for a transfer if that takes place. We’re looking to see if that’s what the governor has come up with.”

Several Republican Senators – including Louis Pate, Tom Apodaca and Ralph Hise – said they think the $52 million price might be too low. They stressed that the sale must benefit mental health services, a commitment McCrory made Monday.

House Speaker Tim Moore also took questions about the deal Wednesday, but he seemed less interested than the Senators.

“I just haven’t paid that much attention to it,” Moore told reporters. “I know that’s been more of a issue of interest here in Raleigh. And at the end of the day, it’s a Council of State issue.”

The council, which consists of McCrory and 10 state elected officials, will vote on the terms soon. But would legislators take action to block the sale, as they did in 2013 with the original lease signed by Gov. Bev Perdue?

“There’s been nobody beating my door down about this issue,” Moore said.