Banks Council considers buying property

Published 10:18 pm Monday, April 7, 2014

Banks Town Council welcomed a new member Monday night. Mayor Lisa Culpepper swore in Laura Hollis, sister of Councilman Jeff Hollis. Laura Hollis fills the spot left vacant by Kay Andress.
Hollis said she looked forward to serving and learning more about her hometown.
“I just want to serve my community,” she said.
Banks residents have approached Culpepper about the town buying two vacant buildings. She asked the council to weigh in on the matter.
The Mason building, which is about a block away from Banks Town Hall, is up for sale. Culpepper said others were interested in the property, but the Masonic Society welcomed a bid from the Town Council. The building has artifacts that the town could put on display, preserving the Masons’ legacy.
“In my opinion, that would be a place to put the water (department),” Culpepper said.
The Town Councilmen also serve as board of directors for the town’s water company.
Culpepper said the Masons did not quote a price. The Town Council recommended having the building appraised and inspected before making a bid.
Several residents have asked Culpepper if the town could buy a vacated Methodist Church. The town already agreed to maintain the church’s cemetery. Culpepper suggested the town rent the building by the day for weddings or by the month to visiting pastors. Several preachers and nonprofit organizations have expressed interest.
Culpepper’s concern is the scarcity of available property in Banks.
Councilman Jeff Hollis said the church was in no condition to rent out. He was concerned that the town would invest money into the building and it would end up sitting empty.
“We’re pretty much landlocked with the railroad and there is no telling when something else will come up again,” she said. “You want to think about that. Do we want to start growing or not?”
Buying either building would mean creating a debt for the town. The town’s current funds are earmarked for a new roof for Town Hall, which was also discussed. The Town Council asked that Culpepper collect estimates for the roof before they approve moving forward on the project.
Councilman Don Smith asked the Council to consider placing its veteran’s memorial outside, in front of Town Hall. The veteran would also like a flag. He shared estimates with the Council for installing a 30-foot poll and for adding a smaller flagpole to the Town Hall’s roof.
All discussions were tabled until the next meeting.
when additional research would be presented.

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