Buckhannon looks to purchase property

The Inter-Mountain by Amanda Hayes City of Buckhannon Building Commission member Lewis Simmons, left, is sworn in by city recorder Randy Sanders during a special meeting of the Buckhannon City Council Thursday.

BUCKHANNON — The City of Buckhannon Building Commission will pursue financing for the proposed $1.5 million purchase of property on Mudlick Road to be the new home of the street department.

During a special meeting of Buckhannon City Council Thursday afternoon, three building commission members were sworn in: Dr. Jeff Harvey, Lewis Simmons and Maureen Wilson. Two remaining members who joined by phone, Renee Preston and Matthew Kerner, will be sworn in at a later date.

Harvey was also appointed chair of the building commission.

Council previously voted to go forward with purchasing the property at 395 Mudlick Road from local businessman Mike Ross.

City attorney Tom O’Neill said, “In discussing how to make this deal happen, the feeling is that the best way to do that is by going through the building commission,” he said. “The building commission would engage financing through a bond issue and then lease the property to the city in exchange for lease payments which would then be used to service the bonds.”

“We have discussed this with Steptoe and Johnson as potential bond counsel and their feeling is that, generally speaking, going that route is the optimal way to go, he said.

The bond would be secured by the special revenue account of the sales tax fund, according to O’Neill.

The building commission would be the entity that would hold the legal title and be the issuer of the special revenue bonds. We would then execute a formal lease between the city and the building commission for the property.

The city would then pay the building commission a certain amount of money every month which would be used to satisfy the bond obligations.

During Thursday’s special meeting held with city council, the building commission voted to engage Steptoe and Johnson as bond counsel for $35,000 to be paid for out of the bonds.

Kerner asked if there would be any environmental study done on the property before purchase.

O’Neill said, “I think the direct answer to your question is no. Having been on the property myself and walked it, I’m not aware of any potential environmental liability with it.”

Mayor Robbie Skinner thanked O’Neill for his work and the members of the building commission who will work on the financing.

“This is a great opportunity for our community and I am certainly looking forward to seeing how this unfolds in the coming weeks and months,” he said. “I appreciate everyone’s efforts up to this point and what is to come ahead.”


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