An unusual request by Stockbridge Mayor Lee Stuart has some city leaders scratching their heads.
The mayor recently inquired as to whether there was money in the city’s budget to purchase 24 goats. He said they would be used clean up kudzu in areas owned by the city, according to Stockbridge treasurer David Milliron.
“He wants to use them at a retention, or detention pond, as opposed to paying employees or contractors to cut the grass,” said Milliron. “I actually busted out laughing. I didn’t realize he was serious.
“I said, you can purchase them, but there’s also additional costs — food, water, veterinary bills, and a goat herder dog that comes with the purchase,” the treasurer added.
Stuart requested $1,500 to buy the goats, according to documents supplied by the city. Milliron said although he was initially taken aback by the mayor’s request, it is not without its merits.
“In all seriousness, I understand that other governments in metro Atlanta have contracted to have goats to combat kudzu,” said Milliron.
Milliron said the goats must also be housed during the winter, which would incur an additional cost for the city.
“The mayor quipped that we could get in the business of selling goat milk or goat cheese to offset the cost,” said Milliron. “As treasurer, if the mayor wants to buy goats, the money’s in the budget, and I’m not going to stand in his way.”
Stuart declined to comment.
Stockbridge City Councilman, Richard Steinberg, said Stuart’s request was distributed in a treasurer’s report to all council members Friday. The councilman questioned Stuart’s reasoning for wanting to purchase the goats.
“He asked to purchase two dozen goats. He asked that they be placed at a city-owned retention pond. I would hope that they not would be used to replace any of our current public-works employees,” Steinberg said.
The goats have not been purchased.
While some view the idea as absurd, goats have been used in Atlanta and other cities, to clear overgrown vacant property.