Grovetown city administrator addresses Lions Club lease

GROVETOWN, Ga.(WJBF)- Grovetown’s city administrator wants to set the record straight about the future of the Lions Club.

NewsChannel 6 first told you last week that City Councilwoman Deborah Fisher filed a complaint against Mayor Gary Jones, which has now been dismissed by the Attorney General.

But part of that complaint alleged Jones cancelled the Lions Club’s lease without consulting city council.

NewsChannel 6 went to speak with members of the Lions Club.

Badges of accomplishments fill the flag at the Lions Club in Grovetown.

The non-profit helps provide services for people with diabetes and the hearing impaired.

Member Amanda Thompson says that’s not all.

“We donate money to the Leader Dogs which helps with the blind. We do the Lighthouse and we do the Lions Club International Foundation which helps with disaster relief,” said Thompson.

Thompson says the location of the Lions Club on Whiskey Road, in the heart of the city, is perfect for Grovetown.

“The importance of being right here in the middle of town is so everyone knows exactly where we’re at,” said Thompson.

The Lions Club owns the building but it sits on city property.

Now, that’s causing a problem with city leaders.

In September, Mayor Gary Jones wrote a letter to the Lions Club stating the city would be cancelling its lease.

“We messaged this poorly from the onset. There was never any intent to put the Lions Club out of that building,” said City Administrator John Waller.

According to the city of Grovetown, by law, no municipality may lease city property to any non-profit with exclusivity rights.

“And that is the challenge. We have to disentangle ourselves, the government, from supporting one particular non profit with exclusive use of the property,” said Waller.

Waller says the city could buy the building and allow the Lions Club and other non-profits to congregate there.

If that’s the case, the Lions Club would be able to continue its mission.

“We’re a small town but we’re growing and we would love to grow our club in this building and fill it up,” said Thompson.

Right now, the city is still in talks with the Lions Club.

NewsChannel 6 will continue to keep you updated.

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