City plans to put a new roof on Public Safety Building

The City of Morgantown will continue to address aging city facilities as part of its $37.3 million budget for the upcoming 2019-’20 fiscal year.

The city anticipates pulling $846,235 from its $5.8 million capital escrow account — used for one-time expenditures like capital projects — to put a new roof on its Public Safety Building, home to the Morgantown’s police, fire marshals, parking authority and municipal court.

Finance Director Jim Goff said the roof represents the first phase of critical improvements to the building over the next two budgets, totaling more than $1.3 million.

Goff said the building’s heating and cooling units need to be replaced, as does a leaky diesel-powered generator.

Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli said the work will improve the building’s energy efficiency. She said the city even explored the idea of a green roof, but found it prohibitively expensive.

Moving across the street, improvements to city hall will continue in the upcoming spending plan.

Having just completed extensive facade work on the former fire station, the city will now focus just over $700,000 to shore up the building’s basement, including a vault that lies beneath the sidewalk along its Spruce Street frontage.

A number of the city’s older buildings have vaults beneath them, often used as storage and for loading coal and inventory.

Muzzarelli said the city has a designer looking at the issue and has yet to determine what to do about the leaky vault.

“At the moment, if it rains, it rains in the basement,” she said, noting a new sidewalk will also be part of the project.

The city is also looking to further assist BOPARC in meeting its substantial capital improvement needs.

Of the park board’s upcoming $3.4 million budget, just over $1.4 million is allocated from the city’s general fund. The city also has a little over $300,000 budgeted from capital escrow for parks and will continue to pass its coal severance revenues, estimated at $75,000, to BOPARC.

Those numbers will increase drastically however if the city moves forward with implementation of a 1 percent sales tax — something all indications point to as being a near certainty.

Looking out to the 2020-’21 budget, the city estimates passing an additional $1.25 million to BOPARC from the new revenue source.

Both of BOPARC’s pools are more than 50 years old and it maintains an ice arena built more than 40 years ago. The city recently allocated $129,500 in emergency funding to ensure the pools could open this summer.

City Manager Paul Brake said if the city moves forward with the sales tax, the city could bond a portion of those anticipated revenues to immediately address some of BOPARC’s mounting infrastructure needs.

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