The fate of the Butler Flats lighthouse stands on shaky ground.

Mayor Jon Mitchell says though the Coast Guard granted New Bedford a license to work on the lighthouse in 1978, ownership of the structure never changed hands.

The 115-year-old lighthouse goes up for auction next month, with a starting bid of $25,000.

Speaking on his weekly radio program, Mitchell says he hopes the lighthouse sticks around for years to come.

Councilor at Large Denis Lawrence, however, says the 1978 transaction was actually a 100-year revokeable lease.

Lawrence tells WBSM News the Council will still pursue a cease and desist of the government auction, until such time the true owner of the lighthouse can be clearly determined.