Mt. Jewett council OKs building lease

MT. JEWETT – A dispute between the Mt. Jewett Borough Council and the defunct Mt. Jewett Borough Water Authority is blocking the sale of a building for a local business.Until this dispute is resolved, the borough agreed Monday to lease the building at 5 W. Main St. to Mt. Jewett residents Mike and Vera West.Earlier this year, the Wests submitted a high bid of $29,000 to purchase the vacant building once planned as the future home for the water authority.West plans to use the building to house his business-- Onsite Drilling Solutions, Inc. The company deals with area gas drilling operations and West is a field consultant for drillers.The borough thought it took ownership of the building when it acted last year to take over the operation of the water authority and all its assets. Council did not need the building so it sought bids to sell the site and put the property back on the tax rolls.According to Council President Chuck Paar, the authority has been "refusing to sign over" its deed for the property. He said the authority wants legal counsel to first review the deal. However, Paar said the authority no longer has a bank account to pay for the legal work since the borough assumed all the authority's assets and liabilities.Paar said it "could take awhile" to resolve the deed dispute. Until the dispute is resolved and the borough secures the property title, the borough plans to lease the building to West for $258.14 per month. This is the borough's monthly mortgage payment with CNB bank, it was noted.West will cover all utilities and insurance.Paar called the authority "obstructionists" for declining to sign off on the deed transfer to the borough.Councilman Brett Morgan, the current operator at the water treatment plant, called the authority "childish" for making it more difficult for the borough to sell the property to a private business.West said the controversy over the deed is "extremely frustrating." He said he and his wife have been "pre-approved" for a loan to buy the building and have already obtained insurance.See full article by purchasing the May 8 edition of The Kane Republican.