County wants signed Town Center agreement

Published 5:34 pm Friday, April 2, 2021

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Board of Supervisors Chairman Dick Grice told Windsor Mayor Glyn Willis he wants to see a finalized memorandum of understanding between Isle of Wight County and the town before the board votes on whether to front money to fund the replacement of the Windsor Town Center roof.

He also wants a cap spelled out as to the maximum amount the county will contribute.

The board previously signaled a willingness at a Nov. 5, 2020 meeting to work with the town on some type of cost-sharing agreement. According to a report by Alpha Corporation, there are 2,000 square feet of wet insulation beneath the 70-year-old roof and large areas of repair where gravel has been swept away, leaving the underlying ply sheets exposed to the weather.

Windsor had been estimating a cost of $300,000 for the project, which will entail removing the existing roof and replacing it in its entirety. The town recently received bids back from five contractors ranging from $237,700 to $333,701. Adelphia Contracting Inc. is the lowest bidder.

Assuming the town awards Adelphia the contract, the project’s total cost, including mold remediation, duct cleaning, architectural design, project management by Alpha Corporation and an 8% contingency fund, totals $358,663.

The town’s MOU with the county has been in development since 2019, but to date hasn’t been signed. The most recent draft states any capital improvements to the building must be negotiated and agreed to by both parties via a separate agreement, with Isle of Wight on the hook for 50% of all annual operating costs, including “utilities, supplies, and facility repairs and maintenance.”

Windsor’s Town Council plans to hold a special called meeting April 5 to approve its end of the bargain, in hopes of securing the board’s vote on the agreement at its April 15 regular meeting. One point of clarity town officials are hoping to see spelled out is a definition of what constitutes capital improvements versus facility repairs and maintenance.

The town leases the center — a former middle school gymnasium — from the county’s school system for $1 a year. The center opened its doors in November 2018 after a town-funded $1.2 million renovation that didn’t include roof work.

The town offers use of the facility free of charge to Isle of Wight County’s Department of Parks and Recreation for county-sponsored programs serving the central and southern regions of the county. In exchange, the county contributes roughly $50,000 annually to staff the facility during Isle of Wight Parks and Recreation activities. According to Willis, 70% of the events held in the town center August and September last year were county-sponsored programs.

Contingent on the signing of the MOU, county officials have proposed funding the roof replacement upfront, with the town responsible for paying back a percentage at no interest.

“The County cannot loan money to the Town. The County would be appropriating the money for the project and the Town would be repaying half, but technically not a loan,” Town Manager William Saunders explained.

The town hopes to issue a notice to proceed by the end of April, at which time the contractor will have 60 days to perform the work.