JEROME - Near the end of its regular meeting Sept. 11, the Town Council went into executive session with the town attorney regarding possible sale or lease of the Jerome Cemetery property in Clarkdale.
"There will be no movement toward selling that property at this time," Town Manager Candace Gallagher told the Verde Independent.
No reason was given why the council decided not to pursue selling the approximately 20 acres next to the cemetery, which sits inside the town limits of Clarkdale. But the town's attempts to sell that land go back to 2003.
In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson deeded 40 acres to Jerome for a new cemetery. At that time the land was outside the Clarkdale town limits. The town sold 10 acres of the parcel in 1997, which was subsequently subdivided into three parcels by the purchaser.
Then in June 2003 when the council decided to sell 19.334 acres of the remaining 29 acres, it was stopped by a 2001 ordinance passed by Clarkdale to control wildcat subdivisions. Clarkdale had earlier annexed the cemetery property.
The 2001 lot-splitting ordinance used 1986 as the reference for deciding the mother parcels. Any splits prior to 2001 are valid, but any splits after 2001 must be judged on the basis of how the original parcel existed in 1986.
By September of 2003, the Jerome Town Council made a decision to go through the Clarkdale subdivision process rather than do battle in court.
The subdivision process eventually fell through.
Then in October 2005, after more than two and a half years of trying to sell the land, the Jerome Council decided it would put the land up for auction as a single parcel on Nov. 15, 2005.
That auction did not work out. In May 2006 the town decided to put the land up for auction a third time on May 3. The Jerome Cemetery land auction died once again.
Then in September 2006, the council accepted an offer to buy the property from Pine Mountain Investments of Payson. The sale was to bring in $870,000 that the town could use on its other properties.
But by mid-November of 2006 it became apparent that the sale was a dud.
The contract specified that a down payment of $20,000 would be made upon acceptance. It also stated that the deal would close within 90 days. The additional $850,000 was due before closing.
The purchasers never came up with the down payment. The council subsequently passed a motion to put the land up for auction again. The town attorney told the Verde Independent at the time that by passing the motion the council was making it clear that no contract existed for the parcel.
No further action was taken to sell the land until it showed up on the agenda to be discussed in executive session during the Sept. 11 meeting.