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Roanoke County could finance about half of the facility’s price.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
A proposed new library in Vinton will come with an estimated $9 million cost, the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors learned Tuesday.
But with cash on hand, the county could complete the project by winter or spring of 2015 by financing just $4.75 million of the cost, the supervisors learned during their work session.
The proposed library is anticipated to be not only a community hub, but also a draw for foot traffic that could be an economic boon to all of downtown Vinton.
County officials are planning three public meetings to collect community input on the library through the course of the design process, with the first coming April 18, Assistant County Administrator Dan O’Donnell told the board.
The board already has appropriated nearly $600,000 to pay for architecture and engineering for the project, and O’Donnell said his staff is currently in negotiations with Holzheimer Bolek Meehan Architects , the same firm that worked on the new South County and Glenvar libraries.
But some supervisors still had questions about the project going forward.
Catawba District Supervisor Butch Church wondered why the project had gone from $6 million to $9 million, and why it cost so much more than the Glenvar facility.
O’Donnell pointed out that it’s 5,000 square feet larger, and that the preparation of the site, including the demolition of a building, is more expensive than in Glenvar.
“This is what they [the architects] feel is an appropriate budget,” O’Donnell said.
Vinton District Supervisor Mike Altizer and the Cave Spring District’s Charlotte Moore defended the project has having economic development value.
“It is more than a library,” Altizer said. “It is a revitalization.”
Church and Windsor Hills District Supervisor Ed Elswick also questioned putting the library ahead of other needs, such as a new Department of Social Services building to replace the dated and outgrown space in a Salem bank building.
County staff noted that the county has the capacity within debt limits to borrow an additional $13 million, which could finance a Social Services building, if they can solve the conundrum of where to build it.
O’Donnell told Elswick to expect a presentation on the Social Services building in April.
Elswick also objected to using a revenue lease bond to finance the library, which can be floated without voter approval.
Elswick argued to use general obligation bonds, which require a voter referendum. County staff proposed floating the bonds in August to allow for demolition for the project to start in September, but Elswick said letting voters take the issue up in November would not cause a significant delay.
“It’s going to be built. We know that,” he said. “I want to never ever again avoid asking citizens for approval.”
He said he believes voters will approve the bonds. “I have no doubt my mind.”
Also Tuesday, the board set March 26 as the date for a public hearing regarding setting the county’s real estate, personal property and machine and tools tax rates, which will not change.
Director of Management and Budget Brent Robertson told the board that projections show an increase of $578,000 for the coming budget year over the current year’s adopted budget.
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