It is no secret that Ravenswood City Officials have now moved into their new City Hall building on 1 Wall Street, the former BB&T building.
The new location offers plenty of public parking and a beautiful, historic space where bills can be paid, not only inside the lobby, but through a convenient drive through as well.
Ravenswood Mayor Josh Miller and the members of the City Council have big plans to renovate the spaces to include new flooring in the lobby area on the first floor, update and improve the second floor to house the City of Ravenswood Police Department, and update the third floor creating a Municipal Court/City Council Chamber all-in-one, allowing the additional space to be used for potential rental income.
Pam Blankenship with Capitol Business Interiors will be working with the city to provide the items and work needed to get the updates made to the new City Hall.
“I called the central purchasing office and asked them if we could do what’s called a piggyback off of their statewide contracts for system furniture,” Miller said.
Working with Blankenship through Capitol Business Interiors will save the city up to 75 percent on items needed to complete the renovation.
Blankenship has been working with Chief of Police Lance Morrison as well as Councilman Jared Bloxton and Miller to come up with the proposals submitted to the City Council for approval.
The following renovations and costs were reviewed during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting:
• First floor lobby area flooring replacement – laminate flooring comes with a 10-15 year warranty at a total cost of $12,800.
• Second floor City Police Department furniture systems and flooring – include items for the captain’s office, chief’s office, conference room, interview room, lieutenant/sergeant’s office, processing room, secretary’s office, simulator training room, squad area, break area, storage, victim’s room, and waiting room all at a total cost of $65,264.12
The cost of the evidence room was proposed separately at a total cost of $14,952.83
According to Morrison, the furniture at the department’s current location is comprised of old, broken, and worn out items that have been handed down from previous years. Most items are no longer in working order. Morrison noted that he and Bloxton worked tirelessly with Blankenship to ensure funds were spent wisely on all office items needed. Money was also saved by purchasing gently used equipment, which is also reflected in the total cost submitted.
• Third floor Municipal Court/City Council Chamber (all-in-one) – total renovation cost $15,501.54
All costs are subject to change based on additional items needed or no longer needed. Some items, such as flooring on the first floor may be held off to focus on the renovations to the second floor. Miller said that getting the Police Department up and running is the priority at this time.
According to Miller, all renovation and upgrade costs will be ran through the Capital Expenditures budget line item.
“I appreciate the opportunity for Capital Business Interiors to work on this project with you all,” Blankenship said. “We’ve been working several months on this to establish the best solution for your floor, to meet your needs, and to be as frugal and conscious of your budget as possible.”
According to Blankenship, the difference in cost based on state contract versus a regular customer for the work on the second floor alone is approximately $17,000 in savings.
“Using the state contract as a basis is a good thing,” Blankenship said.
Following Blankenship’s presentation, Council unanimously approved to accept the proposals as presented.
In other business:
• Council approved the minutes of the prior meeting.
• Miller tabled the reports from the department heads until the Jan. 7 meeting in order to allow each department extra time to prepare end of year reports. The quarter will then be closed during the January meeting.
• Invoices from the Mid Ohio Valley Regional Council and Dunn Engineering were presented to the Council for approval of payment. Council approved the invoices for payment.
• Miller updated the council on the Infrastructure Project. He noted that the grant from the USDA did not appear to go through based on the current rates of the City of Ravenswood being too low.
“If anything, you guys are in a position that most municipalities or PSD’s would kill to be in with your rates,” Mid Ohio Valley Regional Council representative John Isner said. “The rates you have are unheard of. Right now we’re in a really good spot to be with better options now than what would have been just a few years ago.”
Miller said the project is still in the works and he is going to pursue the financing aggressively through the private market.
“I’m trying to work with our local banks, because once again, I think supporting local is important,” Miller said.
• Council discussed the maintenance agreement on the elevator in the new building, noting that the group who originally installed it was Thyssenkrupp. There is a preventative maintenance agreement proposal with them at a term of 60 months for $175 per month. Miller said the line item will be split between all departments. Council voted to approve the Thyssenkrupp service agreement.
• Miller announced the potential tenants for the remaining space on the third floor of the new City Hall building.
“The Division of Juvenile Services is interested in using this floor,” Miller said.
They have a youth day report center in Mason County and are looking to expand into providing the same services for youth in Jackson County, according to Miller.
“It is not a done deal,” Miller said. “I feel confident enough that when they came and toured this facility, they wanted our numbers and are going to submit the requisition request to the real estate division as they are required. They are funded by the legislature and they have been around for 20 years in Mason County, so this would be a long-term tenant.”
Miller said 100 percent of rental income received would be applied to the building loan. He feels the rental of the space will bring in the revenue needed to allow the loan to be paid off earlier, thus saving the city money in interest fees.
• Due to the denial of the USDA funding, a letter of engagement to create a current Rule 42 to include 2019 numbers for the Ravenswood Water Project is required. Rule 42 is a requirement through the Public Service Commission listing all the details of a public service project. Michael Griffin is a specialized accountant who has worked on many of these cases. Council approved the letter and the use of Griffin.
• Council discussed amending the City Charter/Ordinance to change the term of elected municipal officials from a two-year term to a four-year term.
“Were it not for the provision that is going to cause it to be on the ballot, giving the opportunity for the public to vote it up or down, I would be opposed to changing it,” Councilman Steve Tucker said. “Not because I like the two-year term, but it’s only been four years since it was last changed.”
Councilwoman Denise Toler said when she came in 2016 she was for the two-year term; however, since then she said coming in under a previous council’s budget and then working with the next year’s budget that the council approved, she felt as though she was, “just getting my feet on the ground.” Toler said she is now for a four-year term.
During public comment, Susan King, suggested the Council think about the four-year term and said she did not recommend it.
“I think it’s worth putting it on the ballot and letting the public decide,” Councilwoman Dee Scritchfield said.
Miller said he can see both sides of the issue.
“I’m about continuity and stability,” Miller said. “That’s how you run a business and that’s how you run a government.”
If added to the ballot, the results would effect those selected in the May election.
Miller added that this was just the first reading and further discussion would be had on the subject.
• Miller motioned to go into Executive Session at 7:45 p.m. regarding personnel matters and contract negotiations/real estate matters.
• The next meeting of the Ravenswood City Council will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at the 1 Wall Street location, third floor.