Archived Story

City mulls buying former VDOT building

Published 2:17pm Saturday, November 24, 2012

By ANDREW FAISON/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
andrew.faison@yahoo.com

FRANKLIN—The City of Franklin is considering buying the former Virginia Department of Transportation building on Pretlow Street for its power and light department.

To do so, the city will borrow $2.6 million for this project and other projects. The city is also considering refinancing its $4.2 million debt.

A public hearing on the matter will be held during City Council’s 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, meeting at City Hall.

“We need additional space for our electric department,” said City Manager Randy Martin. “They currently share space with public works and they have run out of space. We are looking at options for providing that space.”

The 80-some-year-old VDOT building has been vacant since the agency moved into its new facility on Meherrin Road in Courtland in January.

“The City of Franklin expressed an interest in the building about a year ago,” said Kris Purzycki, public information officer with VDOT in Suffolk. “We have only had one other inquiry and that was an individual who wanted to use the building as a daycare.”

Purzycki said VDOT has not set a price for the building.

Martin said another option would be to construct a new building.

The city hopes to refinance its $4.2 million debt at an interest rate of 4 percent or lower without extending the payback time.

“The rate is so attractive now for tax-exempt financing for local governments,” Martin said. “We will get super rates on this financing.”

The City in March 2010 did a debt-restructuring plan to create a savings, which was used to cushion against the loss of $1.2 million annually from International Paper. The mill in November 2009 announced its closing, but has since reopened on a smaller scale.

“The negative thing that came from the 2010 restructuring, we have a spike in our payments, and those payments are going to back up rather steeply,” Martin said.

The 2012 refinancing would also allow the city to borrow the $2.6 million, which would be absorbed into the city’s total debt.

“The city would actually still be paying less on our debt payments after issuing the new debt than we are currently paying after the refinancing while not extending the term,” he said.

The $2.6 million would also pay for replacing roofs at the Ruth Camp Campbell Memorial Library, the social services building and other buildings.

“The Public Works Department has asked to replace many of the roofs within the last five budget years, but the city has been unable to fund them through the operating budget,” Martin said.

 

  • got3ofum

    Prelow=Pretlow

    Suggest Removal

  • got3ofum

    why cant they move to Prelow Park?? didnt the tax payers already shell out a few million for that? Oh and by the way ITS EMPTY, or soon to be, right?

    Suggest Removal

  • BowHunter

    Not my style E2. Don’t own anyone anything. Don’t plan on oweing anyone anything when I leave either. That day is 10-15 down the road.

    Suggest Removal

    • employee2

      Hopefully not, but unfortunately a lot of customers do. That is the whole point of a deposit.

      Suggest Removal

  • workingtodamill

    Fp&l is usually on top of things. Now major storms and what not, yeah they can get a little behind. Usually if you call they are right there. They are the 1 thing the city has that actually makes money.

    Suggest Removal

  • employee2

    “Has anyone attempted to get service from them and not been disgusted.” sure would like for you to elaborate on what you were “disgusted” with?

    Suggest Removal

    • SandMan

      I’m with you, employee2. People in Franklin are spoiled. Let them live in another area & see if they get the same level of service that FP&L provides. Some people just have to complain!

      Suggest Removal

      • BowHunter

        I’ve lived in another area. One that was equipped for the 21st century,had computers and all, and knew how to use them. They didn’t still have paper applications for service. They didn’t require a $400 deposit from people with perfect credit. They didn’t ask for next of kin so they could contact them , for what reason lord knows. This city is pitiful and I will be leaving as soon as my time is finished at my job. Thank you.

        Suggest Removal

      • BowHunter

        Shoulda coulda woulda doesn’t apply in Franklin. What is the purpose of giving them your SS# , they are suppose to use that to check your credit. It’s has become all about , if you don’t like it tough .

        Suggest Removal

      • employee2

        Here is another “Red Flag” as to why they ask for deposits. “This city is pitiful and I will be leaving as soon as my time is finished at my job. Thank you.” If they have a deposit from you, you are less likely to leave with an unpaid bill.

        Suggest Removal

    • SandMan

      Have a nice trip.

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      • employee2

        So your issue isn’t with the Electric Department, but with the utility billing department? The “perfect credit” should get you no deposit if you show them a recent credit report!, they can’t go by word of mouth. You can also use a credit letter from a recent utility.

        Suggest Removal

      • BowHunter

        Don’t go away mad just go away.

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  • BowHunter

    I’d be happy if the power and light department entered the 21st century. Has anyone attempted to get service from them and not been disgusted.Typical Franklin, were in debt but not so much that we can’t afford more debt.How about this. For every business you attract to the industrial park you get one pet project.

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    • concernedcitizen

      @bowhunter…..what are you digusted with? these guys have been the best to work with that I have ever seen…..Try to talk to somebody with Dominion!

      Suggest Removal

  • Harley

    On one hand the city does not have any money. The on the on other hand the city has enough money to buy a building and renovate it. Lets live within our means.
    Need to wait until economy gets better.

    Suggest Removal

  • DryRain

    Moving into a flood zone, if you need more space why move to an area that is smaller than where FP&L is now, rates will go up again, why not just build a new building on the City’s Property in the Industrail Park near the generation plant. Just thinking out loud…

    Suggest Removal

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