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Morgantown Council moves forward with bonding for facility improvements

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown City Council approved the first reading of a bond ordinance Tuesday that will convey ownership of city hall, the public works garage and the Norwood fire station to the Morgantown Building Commission in exchange for up to $7 million in funding for upgrades to those facilities, as well as the city’s public safety building.

The money will come through an issuance from the building commission of up to $7 million in lease revenue bonds. The financing term would be capped at 20 years with an interest rate not to exceed 6%.

“The mechanism for this proposed transaction is building commission lease revenue bonds where the building commission would own the properties, would issue the bonds and would lease those buildings to the city,” Attorney Ryan Simonton explained. “The city would pay the debt service on the bonds by making the lease payments to the building commission.”

Simonton said preliminary estimates indicate debt service on the bonds would be about $620,000 annually. Once the debt is paid off, the property deeds for city hall, the public works garage and the fire station would return to the city. The building commission already owns the public safety building.

Improvements to city hall are estimated at $2.9 million and, according to Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli, could include asbestos abatement, elevator replacement, a new heating and cooling system, window replacement, creation of a secure entrance foyer, restroom upgrades, kitchen upgrades, flooring renovation and replacement and creation of a basement workshop.

The city maintenance garage work is estimated at $1.6 million and is expected to include master planning for the site including determination of an urban landscape nursery area, roof repairs and replacement including paint shop ventilation, building envelope insulation, fire safety and suppression upgrades, site work addressing stormwater systems and evaluation of salt building replacement or relocation.

The public safety building is looking at approximately $600,000 in improvements including a new elevator and elevator shaft repairs, exterior repairs including new lighting, concrete stair repairs, possible replacement of the building’s generator, restroom upgrades and communication and data upgrades.

Lastly, about $400,000 in improvements are planned for the Morgantown Fire Department’s Norwood station, including investigation of settlement issues and foundation/slab repairs, restroom repairs and renovation, updates to the kitchen area, plumbing and ventilation upgrades, van door replacement and possible creation of a secondary sleeping and restroom area.

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