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Unicoi to withdraw offer to buy Buffalo Valley

Sue Guinn Legg • Apr 16, 2018 at 9:57 PM

UNICOI — The Unicoi Board of Mayor and Alderman voted Monday to withdraw its offer to buy Buffalo Valley Golf Course from the city of Johnson City and to ask the city to return its the town’s $40,000 deposit on the property.

Alderwoman Kathy Bullen made the motion to withdraw the offer, saying the value of the course has been changed by the city’s work on the property.

Aderman Jeff Linville agreed, saying the property’s value has been diminished by Johnson City’s removal of topsoil.

Mayor Johnny Lynch said there has been some city discussion of creating a wetlands area on the golf course but has the city has not given the town any notice of those plans.

The vote to withdraw the offer to buy the course was added to the meeting’s agenda following a discussion of the city’s deadline to accept or decline the offer.

Asked for an update, Town Recorder Michael Borders told the board Unicoi has not received any word from the city on the offer. Borders said the city has submitted plans to remove additional topsoil from the course and applied for a permit from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Linville noted the 60-day deadline for the city to respond to the town’s $400,000 offer to buy the course had “come and gone” and Alderman Roger Cooper proposed a letter of inquiry into the city’s intentions.

Bullen instead recommended the town ask the city to return the deposit, saying the property’s value is not the same as when the town submitted the bid.

“We can still re-bid it. But the property we bid on is not the same property that is there today,” she said.

The board voted unanimously to withdraw the offer and asked for a return of the deposit.

In other business on Monday, the board also voted unanimously to accept bids totaling $71,035 for three packages of specialized equipment for the Mountain Harvest Kitchen.

Lee Manning, director of the regional small business incubator and community kitchen, recommended the three sets of low bids for equipment, including a dry weight scale, a liquid filling machine for bottling and a combination of large and small mixers.

Borders said funds for equipment will come from an Appalachian Regional Commission Power Grant for equipment and programming. The $400,000 grant was awarded to the town in December and requires a 30 percent funding match from Unicoi.

Linville made the motion to accept the bids and Bullen seconded the motion.

In an update on the kitchen, Manning said a Home Cooks Grant fund has been set up to cover the kitchen’s $85 orientation fee and $25 hourly rental fee for one day of kitchen use by 10 to 15 noncommercial kitchen users who live in Unicoi. Manning said grant recipients may bring up to four people with them to use the kitchen, but they must be experienced in the food processing techniques they will use at the kitchen.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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