Council will purchase building neighboring Sam Elbert Hotel
Elberton’s city council, after previously taking a pass, decided Monday night to purchase a building adjacent to the Samuel Elbert Hotel, which is currently being renovated.
Elberton’s mayor and council went behind closed doors for about 15 minutes to discuss a real estate purchase and seek legal advice from the city attorney.
Upon returning to open session, there was no mention of the “legal advice” but a motion was made, seconded and voted on concerning a real estate purchase.
City Manager Lanier Dunn read a resolution stating the City of Elberton would purchase the property connected to the Samuel Elbert Hotel (6 South Public Square) owned by Bob and Rena Thomas.
According to the county tax assessor’s office, the property’s value is $27,095.
However, the city has agreed to pay the Thomas’ $42,000 for the property with the understanding the sale and subsequent surrender of the property would be expedited.
As for the hotel, the project is slated to be completed some time in October.
During the March meeting of the mayor and council, Councilman Troy Colquitt asked City Attorney Steve Jenkins to research whether or not a municipality is allowed to provide funds for charitable organizations.
Jenkins provided the council members with a written opinion this month and summarized his findings to council and those present as well.
“The prohibition in the U.S. Constitution and the Georgia Constitution in keeping the church and state separated still applies and that’s what we look at when determining whether or not the city can donate funds to the citizens or a charitable organization,” said Jenkins. “As long as it’s not directly or specifically connected to a religious organization and as long as a charitable purpose is true charitable purpose the Georgia Constitution specifically authorizes the community, city or county to provide funds for such organizations.”
Jenkins gave two examples with the explanation. He stated the city could give to the American Red Cross but that because of their stated purpose, the city could not donate to the Salvation Army.