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Selectmen Weigh Land Sale, Horse Rescue

The West Point Board of Selectmen flew through a brief agenda October 9, hearing a request from a citizen to buy a piece of city-owned property, discussing pickup of abandoned horses within the city limits and considering a request to rename Lagoon Road.

West Point resident Vivian Taylor asked the city to declare an unused city-owned lot adjacent to her property surplus and sell it to her.

“There is a parcel of land on the side of 1030 Grove Street…and I would like to petition the board to make it surplus and I would like to purchase that land,” Taylor said. “I want to purchase it outright, I don’t want to do bids.”

Mayor Scott Ross asked City Administrator Randy Jones to confirm that the land was city-owned.

“It is owned by the city, and it is a vacant lot,” Jones said. “I believe Ms. Taylor mows it from time to time. I think in cases where it’s an adjacent property owner it can be sold outright. If I’m not mistaken the city would have to get two appraisals and take the median value.”

Ward 3 Selectman Charles Collins made a motion, seconded by Ward 5 Selectman Jasper Pittman, to declare the land surplus.

The motion passed 4-0. [Ward 2 Selectman Homer Cannon was late to the meeting and arrived as the vote was being taken. He did not participate in the vote. – Brian Jones]

Ross brought before the board a proposal by Golden Triangle Horse Rescue Inc. The group is picking up abandoned and neglected horses within the city limits, and asked the city to support them by paying a $5 fee per horse.

The selectmen balked at approving the request, and Ross stated that he would pay the fee out-of-pocket himself.
Town Clerk Lela Jack explained the offer.

“Lynda Koch came to me about this,” she said. “They are picking up abandoned horses, and so far they’ve picked up about seven horses. They asked for the city to help them out by paying a $5 fee.”

“How is that related to the initial animal control agreement with the animal shelter?” Collins asked.

“It has really nothing to do with it,” Ross said. “The animal shelter is a different entity. There are some of the same people involved. There aren’t that many horses inside the city limits.”

“Have they approached the county?” asked District 2 Selectman Homer Cannon.

“I don’t know,” Ross said. “But we can’t pick up a dog for $5.”

“Didn’t the animal shelter mention horses when they originally came to us?” Collins asked.

“This is not a proposal to require them to do anything,” Ross said. “They are asking that if they do pick one up that we will pay $5 for it. If you don’t want to do it, I’ll pay it myself.”

“I understand what you’re saying, but this may open the door to us being charged for more and more later on,” Pittman said, “and more things for us to be liable and responsible for.”
“We pay a salary to an animal control person,” Collins said.
“The animal control officer doesn’t have a horse trailer,” Ross said. “I hope you’re not looking at buying one of those. I think you’re making this more complicated than it is.”

“This is my first time hearing this right now,” Collins said.

“Nobody thought this was even remotely controversial,” Ross said. “There aren’t that many horses in the city limits. I’ll tell you what, I’ll just take this off the agenda. Next month if they pick up any horses, you tell them to send the bill to me and I’ll pay it. I hate to think I may be out $10 next month.”

Ross asked the selectmen for permission to change the name of Lagoon Road.

Lagoon Road is located across Highway 45 from Airport Road. Ross said that the name is “embarrassing” and asked the board to change it to make it part of Airport Road; Jones asked that the name be “Airport Road Extension” to avoid confusion.

The request was approved unanimously.

The board went into a 30-minute executive session to discuss personnel and litigation. Ross announced afterward that no action was taken.

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