Mayor Miller addresses public comments

Staff Writer
Jackson Newspapers
Jackson Newspapers

Following the Ravenswood City Council’s Facebook Live meeting on July 7, Mayor Miller took time to address some questions received in the comments section by concerned citizens:

• The cost of the second-floor buildout to move the Ravenswood Police Department from 333 Virginia Street to the second floor of 1 Wall Street will be approximately $183,913

• The HVAC unit will be replaced on the second floor at the cost of approximately $89,000 and will likely last 20 or 30 years if not longer, which I think that’s important to keep in perspective along with the buildout that will be a one-time deal as long as the Ravenswood Police Department stays here. I think it is a fair assumption, at least in our lifetime. The HVAC work will also save on our power bills because the second floor will no longer operate on baseboard heating as it was quite some time ago when it was occupied.

• This bid was awarded to Casey Construction tonight at the special council meeting, we had five different general contracting businesses attended the mandatory pre-bid meeting from various parts of the state. Due to COVID-19, this bid process ended up taking months due to restrictions in place which were obviously understandable. We only received one bid for the project from Casey Construction, and for those that may not know the rules for contracting projects like this, is that the only contracting firms that can bid on the project are the ones that attend the mandatory pre-bid meeting or meetings. Since we only received one bid and it was from a local construction firm, City Council asked that we seek an independent consultant letter to be sure that the project was at or near fair market value when comparing similar projects and market values in similar areas. Per the independent consultant advisory, normal market value cost for projects such as the second-floor buildout is typically around $60 per square foot and our buildout cost came in at approximately $41 per square foot according to the independent consultant review. The average baseline cost for similar HVAC projects is typically around $15 per square foot and our cost came in at approximately $12 per square foot.

• Also, outside of the many theories I’ve read and various comments, I want to continue to mention that we’ve had funds set up over time to address projects like this, and we also have a Capital Expenditure Fund as a normal part of our budget which has a solid amount of funding in place to take on various projects throughout the city, quarterly and annually. This doesn’t even include an additional CD or various Special Revenue Funds that can only be allocated for certain projects which are defined in code. We’ll have somewhat of a lengthy regularly scheduled City Council meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21 (tonight), which will cover various topics and comments I see being discussed on this thread and various threads. We’ll also talk about CARES ACT dollars, the status of Washington’s Western Land Museum Fund, grant funding we’ve received recently, and grants we intend on pursuing in the future. You’ll see the hopeful beginning discussion of the Ravenswood Marina Project (very preliminary, but tune in if you’re interested) which would be vital to creating new and diversified commerce for this city, county, region, and state. You’ll hear much more about numerous projects our parks and recreation commission has been working on and also numerous projects from our maintenance department. Before the end of the year, you’ll see much more activity in regard to the groundbreaking on the water project. You’ll be able to see and ask questions about what a Phase I Sewer Project would consist of for our area. Finally, we should/hope to start seeing awards made by the State of West Virginia in regards to various medical cannabis between July 2020 through September 2020, as long as we don’t have any major setbacks of the timeline due to COVID-19.

• Just responding to a comment I noticed above about putting money into a building that we don’t own. We approved/entered a 10-year Lease/Purchase Agreement with the Jackson County Development Authority with the intention of paying it off early. Given the current market conditions, it’s a good time to do that by using municipal bonds. I don’t have a timeline on all of that, but once again I would tune in to the next few meetings for more information and potential discussion on that matter.

• Yes, a potential lease agreement on the third floor didn’t happen because the group that wanted to move into this building didn’t receive additional funding from the legislature. However, since then we’ve had several interested parties that would be great fits, but once again COVID-19 put much of this progress on hold.

Thank you for your continued feedback and involvement, streaming these meetings has really motivated more people to get involved in local government which is awesome!