Banks councilmen skip scheduled meeting

Published 9:51 pm Monday, June 2, 2014

Banks Mayor Lisa Culpepper said she was a bundle of nerves last weekend in anticipation of Tuesday’s Council meeting. As it turns out, there was no need to worry. For the second month in a row, the Council could not hold a meeting because it did not have enough council members attend.
“We couldn’t vote on any issues because of it,” said Culpepper.
The Council has to have a quorum of three in attendance to vote on any official matter.
Council members Lynn Wilson and Don Smith joined Culpepper at what was supposed to be the May meeting. Without enough members available for a vote or an in-depth discussion, the meeting was adjourned. Wilson was the lone council member at this month’s meeting. She and Culpepper discussed the poor attendance and adjourned the meeting.
Culpepper said she would draft a letter stressing responsibility and accountability and send it to all absent members.
“People shouldn’t agree to be a council member if they are not serious about the position,” she said. “I guess people just have too much to do these days.”
Because of the absences of members Jeff Hollis, Laura Hollis, Lenardo Brent and Don Smith, the town lost out on a real estate deal that would have provided a building for the town’s utilities company.
At its April meeting, the Council discussed purchasing two properties: the Masons lodge and a vacant Methodist church. Buying either building would mean creating a debt for the town.
Culpepper anticipated an intense debate between opposing sides. “It has been taxing on all of us,” she said.
“The Masons have had multiple offers for the building. But they didn’t want it to fall into the hands of just anyone,” continued Culpepper.
The Masons wanted the town to buy the building in hopes that the town would preserve some of the artifacts (documents and photographs) the Masons planned to leave behind.
After waiting more than two months for the Council’s decision, the Masons were slated to discuss other offers at a meeting held Tuesday night. The Council had until the start of the meeting to accept the deal.
“Tonight was the night,” Culpepper said.
Several residents in favor of the purchase have approached Culpepper about it. During April’s meeting, she said opportunities like the Masons building and the church do not happen often.
“We’re pretty much landlocked with the railroad and there is no telling when something else will come up again,” she said.
Town Treasurer Jennifer Smith had advised the Council not to make any purchase. “We don’t have the money to buy them.”
The church is still available for purchase.
Wilson said she had not made up her mind on the Masons building purchase.
“It probably would have been a good thing,” she said. “Better luck next month.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox