Morgantown council prepares to approve bonds for infrastructure improvements

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — City leaders are beginning the new year with a bevy of improvements of their municipal buildings.

During Morgantown City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday, an ordinance that would authorize the city’s Building Commission to begin the process of selling and issuing up to $7 million in lease revenue bonds, was passed unanimously.

The funding, would be used by the commission, to help design, construct and renovate improvements for city buildings such as city hall, the Morgantown Public Safety Building, the Norwood Fire Station and the city’s public works garage.

“The Building Commission would own the properties, issue the bonds and lease those buildings to the city,” Simonton said. ” The city would pay the debt service on the bonds by making the lease payments to the commission.”

City Attorney Ryan Simonton

According to city attorney Ryan Simonton, the term of the bonds would not exceed 20 years.

“There are preliminary estimates available that the annual debt service would approximate $620,000-per year,” Simonton said. “Those are based on conservative estimates of the interest rate the city might pay.”

The current budget for the various projects expected for each of the buildings are currently estimated at $5.5 million The majority of the funds (approximately $2.9 million) directed towards renovations and upgrades at City Hall. This includes a replacement of the windows, along with improvements to the building’s interior rooms, electrical work and the addition of a workshop area in the building’s basement.

Emily Muzzarelli

“The major items of work are asbestos abatement, elevator replacement, replacement of the current heating system and the addition of a cooling system that is not included in most of our facilities,” Morgantown Assistant City Manager Emily Muzzarelli said.

The city garage, will receive the second most amount of money out of the budgeted funds, with costs projected to be up to $1.6 million. Those funds is expected to be used for several renovations for the facility such as roof repairs, storm water drainage systems improvements, fire safety upgrades and improvements to the interior of the building. Extra amenities are expected to be added to the garage including solar power elements and the design of a Storm water Retention Pond.

A combined $1 million will be used for improvements for both the city’s Public Safety Building and the Norwood Fire Station, located on Spruce Street in Downtown and on Hillcrest Street in Sabraton respectively. Approximately $600,000 will be used for the Public Safety Building to replace and improve elevators, plumbing, electrical and communication systems. Approximately $400,000 directed to mostly structural renovation of the Norwood Fire Station.

“Investigative work at the Norwood Fire Station to determine the settlement issues, foundation or slab repairs,” Muzzarelli said. “Restroom repairs or renovations- that’s where the main bulk of the work is there.”

While the remaining $1.5 million is expected to be used for bond closing and other residual costs, the budget allotted for the combined projects have not been officially finalized. The project, was originally budgeted for $5 million before redesigns and estimates increased the budget by $500,000. While costs are not expected to go much higher than the current projections, it is expected that the projects, once finalized, will commence sometime in 2022.

“Looking at slabs, looking at asbestos abatement, looking at roofs, foundations and elevators,” Mayor Jenny Selin said. “I think that’s the type of thing we would want taken care of in our community.”

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