The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Ledger Publisher 

Council nixes barn buy/sell


February 14, 2018

Nearly one month after voting down a resolution that would have terminated the buy/sell agreement for the purchase of the former ambulance barn, the Whitehall Town Council reversed its course of action at their regular meeting Monday night.

The Town Council voted 4-0 to approve Resolution 2018-2, which terminates Resolution 2017-8 (Approved November 20, 2017) for the buy/sell agreement to Western Veterinary Services for a price of $288,000 for the building located at 207 E. Legion.

Council members Montina Rawson, Francine Giono-Janik, Barbara Gagnon and Jason Good all voted in favor of nixing the buy/sell agreement. Member Gary Housman abstained from voting. Prior to the vote, Housman said they have voted on this so many times and he’s getting sick of it. He said he doesn’t feel they should vote on it again.

At a January 16, 2018 meeting, the Council voted 3-2 against the termination of the agreement. Housman, Gagnon, and Rawson all voted against the measure.

Rawson apologized for the town to Dr. Cory Tebay of Western Veterinary Services, but said she does not feel selling the barn would be in the best interest of the town. Rawson said she asked 41 residents about the proposed sale, and 27 were not in favor of selling. She said 12 were in favor and two didn’t care what happened. With the 27 not in favor, she said this is not just her personal opinion.

Dr. Kathy Meyer shared a personal experience she recently had in a local ambulance, and spoke in favor of terminating the agreement. She said the building was built for a purpose and praised its central location.

Larry Feight questioned why the issue is being brought up again after it was already voted on, with the decision made to sell the building.

Local resident Lori Young said this is under a buy/sell contract and even if you personally do not agree, it is a legal contract that binds the town leadership to be legally accountable for. Young said she feels this community can be one of the best around if people can pull together and hold the leadership accountable.

“Where are the transparency, honesty, and trust? Being honest is simple if you tell the truth and have nothing to hide,” she said.

Maxine Samuelson asked the Council to do what is morally right and uphold the agreement.

During the discussion on the Ambulance Barn, Jefferson Valley Rural Ambulance District Chair Sue Pullman approached the Council. She said the current district includes the Whitehall School district with the exception of the town of Whitehall. She said they are currently working on bylaws and would in time ask the Town if they would like to join the district. Pullman also expressed interest in the ambulance barn for the district, stating it is set up to be an ambulance facility.


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