Lease agreement mix-up muddles meeting

By Jeff Smith


Some controversy has surfaced around the Keystone town board meeting times being changed. Last month the town board changed the time to 9 a.m. for both of the month’s meetings and recently they decided to have two separate times for their meetings.

Casey McNulty commented on the time change and saw an issue with a town meeting being at 9 a.m. when most people are at work. McNulty said the town could look at the town board change as being a transparency issue. One of the issues he had was that people could be at work for discussion of a building permit, contractor’s licenses and business liceneses.

Rick Brandfas, town board president, said the citizen discussion at another town board meeting found that there are some people who can’t make the 9 a.m. meeting, so the 5 p.m. meeting on the first Wednesday of the month gives people another opportunity to be at the meeting.

McNulty thought the meeting time change should have been an item on the agenda so the public knew what was going on.

Trustee Lynette Gohsman said that the meetings are recorded and there is nothing that they can do that people aren’t going to see.

“We’re not trying to hide anything by having a 9 o’clock meeting,” Gohsman said.

Gohsman said that being a trustee is mostly a volunteer position. The trustees have lives and jobs so sometimes the public needs to work with the board.

McNulty said that he would have liked to have seen more opinions represented at the meeting and he has received some feedback about the situation from people in the community.

He was asked why they weren’t at the meeting and McNulty said that they didn’t think it would be discussed.

Cassandra Ott, acting finance officer, said that she will put the meeting time change on the next agenda.

There was a lot of confusion surrounding the two items on the agenda under old business. Mitch Johnson, city attorney, created a new lease for the Keystone Historical Society but it might not have been needed.

It was approved but then near the end of the meeting McNulty said the city approved a lease that was not revised. The lease is for the museum and there is also another one between the historical society and the Holy Terror Days Association.

“It sounds like the historical society had a lease and the previous director of the musuem seemed to think they needed a new lease but they didn’t,” Ott said.

The Historical Society is confused because they didn’t think they needed a lease and then the Town of Keystone is confused because they thought that they did.

The lease with the Town of Keystone was done in 1989 and is a perpetual lease.

The new lease agreement was rescinded and then tabled at the Oct. 3 meeting.

The lease agreement with the Keystone Historical Society could be changed going forward. It is set to be on the agenda in November but the Town of Keystone may decide that a new lease isn’t needed.

The town board also discussed the possible interest in annexation of land by Old Hill City Road.

The area in question is by the American Pines Cabins on Old Hill City Road. Ott’s concern was that Keystone couldn’t provide services that far up the road.

Johnson said it’s a pretty easy process as there is just a petition. Keystone would need to create a resolution for the annexation.  Johnson suggested waiting for a petition and seeing what the reason for it would be.

“You don’t have to accept the petition,” Johnson said.

Ray French of Keystone brought up that the reason for the annexation could be a vaction home. He thought that the county had strict laws on vacation homes while the Town of Keystone doesn’t have any.

The property tax wouldn’t help Keystone but sales tax from a nightly rental could benefit the town.

Brandfas spoke about the Keystone Senior Citizens meeting that was held at the end of September.

“There was a lot of discussion on keeping it going and how they are going to keep it going,” Brandfas said.

At the meeting there was a decision to nominate a director. Mackenzie Swanson will be the new director working on a volunteer basis.

The senior center also wants to move forward with a new name contest. Brandfas said that they want to remove the moniker “senior” .

“When you get old you still think young,” Brandfas said.

The meals are still suspended at the Keystone Senior Citizens Center until a cook can be in place.

Brandfas said that the town will be pretty quiet at the end of the month as many of the businesses will be closing for the year.