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Morgantown Council approves 2022 budget, 5-year capital program

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown City Council wrapped up budget approvals for the upcoming 2021-‘22 fiscal year on Tuesday.

Along with adopting the city’s $38 million spending plan for the year beginning July 1, council also adopted  a number of budget-related resolutions. 

Among those was a resolution approving a five-year, $86.2 million capital improvement program.

The first year of that plan anticipates just over $14.3 million in budgeted projects, about half of which ($7.86 million in mostly federal money) is tied to the expansion of the city’s airport runway and related projects. Another $3.1 million is dedicated to streets and engineering and $824,094 earmarked for vehicles and equipment for the city’s fire department.

In addition, the 2021-‘22 capital improvement program also includes a $5 million infrastructure bond to address aging city infrastructure, including city hall ($1.255 million), the public safety building ($797,000), the city garage ($553,500), the South High Street ($400,000) and Norwood ($375,000) fire stations and the former Woodburn School ($346,112).   

The bond would also fund a kayak rental building at the Walnut Street Landing ($250,000), a TSA security checkpoint redesign at the airport ($125,000) and construction of an urban landscape center and nursery ($190,000).

Along with a $15,889,054 capital escrow budget, council also passed a resolution approving budgets for the Morgantown Municipal Airport ($2.3 million), the city’s sales tax ($6 million) and  arts & culture development ($128,803). 

Also on Tuesday, council approved resolutions accepting a pair of grants from the West Virginia Department of Transportation for Pleasant and Walnut streetscape projects.

Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli said the $384,000 grant, along with a 20% local match, will be used to address sidewalks, curbs, lighting and trees along Pleasant Street, from University Avenue to Spruce Street.

The $773,609 grant for Walnut Street will address those same issues while also dealing with a number of underground vaults. That project will run from High Street to Spruce Street.

Muzzarelli said the Pleasant Street work is expected to begin this year, with Walnut Street likely following in the 2022 construction season.

In other news, council  adopted the ordinance creating the Morgantown Cultural Arts Commission and dissolving the commissions dedicated to the Metropolitan Theatre and the Morgantown History Museum.

Mayor Ron Dulaney read the names of all the current members of both bodies and council adopted a resolution recognizing three decades of service from Pamela Ball, who it named the “Founder and Director Emeritus” of the Morgantown History Museum.

Lastly, council adopted resolutions recognizing March as Women’s History Month and April 6 as Municipal Voter Registration Day.