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Commission Decides On 911 Building Financing

By Staff | Nov 26, 2008

At its regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 18, the Wetzel County Commission met with a financing specialist to discuss financing options for the Wetzel County 911 center.

Jeff Smell, financing specialist with Comvest Ltd. of Bridgeport, Ohio, explained that the proposal at this time is an “indicative financing proposal”. Smell stated that Comvest, Ltd., a privately owned firm that provides flexible financing solutions to governments and municipal organizations, proposes the issuance of bonds by the Wetzel County Building Commission for the amount of the project, including issuance costs. The proceeds of these bonds will be loaned to the commission to pay for and complete the project of constructing and equipping the Wetzel County 911 Center. Bonds are necessary because the county commission is not legally allowed to acquire long-term debt. Bond monies can be used for building and equipment costs.

Two scenarios were presented to the commission at the Nov. 18 meeting. Bond amounts of $740,000 and $1.54 million for 10-year terms at a fixed interest rate of 4.9 percent to be paid quarterly were discussed. Smell also stated that a third option, a 20-year term, could be implemented with a 10-year fixed rate at 4.9 percent interest to be reset at 70 percent of the prime rate of four percent. The commission passed a motion to accept the $740,000 amount for a 20-year term.

The decision came after much consideration, discussion, and the urging of Smell, who stated he recommended the commission not wait to make a decision. “It looks like we are at the point where we need to make a decision,” said Commission Vice President Don Mason. “We don’t want to cut ourselves short, but we don’t want to overextend either,” added Commission President Barbara King. Wetzel County 911 Executive Director Ed Sapp was also in attendance and agreed with the commission’s decision.

Smell stated that certain legal proceedings would have to take place alongside the Wetzel County Building Commission. A public hearing would have to be held. Smell also said that a bank would have to be decided upon to act as a funding source. The commission expressed their desire to work with a local financial institution. Smell reported that Comvest has been in contact with Progressive Bank and that a “good relationship” has already been established with WesBanco. WesBanco is the primary banking institution for the Wetzel County Commission.

It was decided upon by the commission to commence meetings with the Wetzel County Building Commission to move forward with the proposal. Smell estimated a total of 40 days for the legal process to unfold. Bids have been received for the 911 center project but no agreements have been made at this time.

Other issues discussed at the Nov. 18 meeting included Wetzel Industrial Park progress as well as the Hundred/Littleton water-line extension project.

Commission members signed a resolution presented by Josh Jefferson of the Regional Economic Development Partnership that would continue the annual granting of the Local Economic Development (LED) grant in the amount of $34,000. The grant provides funding from the state LED grant fund appropriated by the state legislature. The grant funding is used to foster local development efforts throughout Wetzel County. The motion to sign the resolution was passed and funding was secured for another year.

Ongoing construction at the Wetzel County Business and Industrial Park which has been leased by ProCon, LLC, a metal fabrication company based in Oklahoma is going according to schedule, said Jefferson. He said that he has spoken with Warren Judge, one of the five founding members of ProCon, and that, “Everything seems to be moving along fairly well.” He seemed confident in the progress, even though at this time installing exhaust fans on the property is the biggest concern.

Jefferson also asked the Commission to consider a sign for the Wetzel Industrial Park be placed along W.Va. 2 and that more security measures be taken by the county to ensure the property is protected. One such measure that Jefferson suggested was to install a security light.

In regards to reactions from local residents living in the Brooklyn area, Jefferson told the Commission that, “Neighbors are great right now. They are just asking questions.” There was some discussion regarding truck traffic causing problems for residents in the future. Jefferson said that he does not foresee the truck traffic being a big problem.

Rick Healy of Belomar Regional Council also presented a resolution regarding the Hundred/Littleton water-line extension project. The resolution listed exemptions that do not fall under the federally mandated environmental review for which the county would be responsible. The paying of administrative, engineering and design, legal, and land acquisition costs were listed. The commission passed a motion and signed the resolution. Commissioner Don Mason inquired about future grant funding cuts. Healy reported that the water and sewer line project is being funded, but that no commercial development grants would be. Funding availability for 2009 is still uncertain.

The Commission meets every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.