County Commissioners Consider Whether To Accept Donated Land

By
Arian Smedley - Athens Messenger staff reporter

Dateline
Updated Wed, Oct 23, 2013 10:17 am

The Athens County Commissioners debated Tuesday whether it was worthwhile to accept a donation of an approximately 7-acre plot near Coolville.

The land, located off Wilman Road, belonged to Velma Cubbison, who died in September 2012. Robert and Vicki Cubbison, of Lynden, Wash., are executors of her estate.

Commissioner Chris Chmiel visited the plot with a local real estate agent to assess the land. After the visit, Chmiel described it as steep and wooded and likely “not very valuable.” He is waiting for an official report from the real estate agent.

Chmiel said he’d like to accept the donation and sell the land. Any profits he’d add to the county’s capital improvement fund.

Commissioner Lenny Eliason said that’s a bad idea.

“I’m not a fan of accepting property without a purpose for it,” he said.

Eliason used the example of the donated land in Torch that was used to build a park as a better use of acquired land.

Accepting donated land without a specific purpose from one person and not another “sets us up for unequal treatment lawsuits,” Eliason continued.

“Why can’t we say no?” Chmiel said. “Isn’t that what we do when we decide on a contract? I’ve never heard of a lawsuit of that kind about unequal treatment.”

Eliason said, “it’s not a good practice, in my opinion.”

Should the county accept the donation, it’s unclear at this point if the county would absorb pending tax payments. Chmiel will investigate and report back at a later date.

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