“There have been a lot of questions raised about the request by the Montgomery Volunteer Fire Department for that half-acre,” said Judge/Executive Stan Humphries. “I’ve asked the county attorney to work on the question ‘Is it legal?’”
According to County Attorney H.B. Quinn, the answer is no, at least under a current agreement with the United States Department of the Interior. “The issue that popped up are restrictions on the land to only use it for recreation purposes based on some funding received in the past. The bottom line is that we can not use the land for other purposes without the express written consent of the Secretary of the Interior.”
Quinn added that after research, he could not find any reference to this stipulation in the minutes of past fiscal court sessions.
Humphries said that he found evidence that the funding came in 1980 with the stipulation. He said that the county needed to seek a variance from the Secretary of the Interior’s Office. He added that he had been in contact with Michael Pape of Representative Ed Whitfield’s office to begin the process.
“(Pape) assured me that it was not an unusual request for a county to make. He did not want to get our hopes up, but said that he had seen it done in the past,” said Humphries of the variance request. “He felt that we had a greater-than-average chance to see this done, but that the wheels of government grinds slowly before they can act on the request.”
Read a complete wrapup of Fiscal Court in this week's Cadiz Record.