BY DEBBIE PAGE
At a special meeting on Tuesday, the Troutman Town Council approved a financing proposal to purchase property at 160 and 170 Wagner Street, as approved at its March meeting, as well as four lots on the corner of Scroggs Street and North Avenue directly across from Town Hall.
In addition, after a closed meeting lasting just over an hour, council members approved a $300,000 offer to purchase of two more homes at 354 and 364 North Eastway, which are in front of these four lots.
The council has indicated in the past that these four lots and two homes create a prime location for future Town Hall expansion to relieve overcrowding problems in the current facility.
The financing proposal totals $810,000 for the two Wagner Street properties and the four lots.
The costs include $285,000 for the four lots, $259,000 for 160 Wagner Street, $254,000 for 170 Wagner Street, and closing costs.
The 10-year loan was offered by BB&T at an interest rate of 2.60 percent and can be paid off early without penalty.
The council decided to purchase the Wagner Street properties during its February 28 retreat.
After structural inspections are complete, the town will decide how to repair and use the Wagner Street properties, which Town Manager Ron Wyatt said could possibly house some town departments until a permanent solution is in place.
The council also voted at the retreat to pursue purchase of the four lots. Wyatt said building a new Town Hall could proceed on the lots, with the police department remaining in the current Town Hall location.
Regarding the Wagner Street properties, Wyatt said at the retreat that “because of future growth, those two parcels are still much needed.”
Councilman Paul Henkel added that the brick house at 170 Wagner could still be rented and the two-story building at 160 Wagner used as temporary town offices.
In the worst case scenario, Wyatt said they could sell both properties later at a profit after cleanup and repair.
Finance Director Steve Shealy assured Henkel, when discussing buying the additional four lots at the retreat, that the town has a wide debt margin. The town has only having 0.77 percent of its state allowed 8 percent of debt margin.
Councilman George Harris noted at the retreat that the expansion of the current Town Hall has been discussed for many years and that it was time to move forward because of Troutman’s growth and growing staffing needs.
Town Attorney Gary Thomas suggested, after council approved the offer to purchase the Eastway properties, that Shealy approach BB&T about rolling this additional $300,000 and closing costs into the financing proposal to perhaps get a better interest rate.
However, Mayor Teross Young expressed concern that this move to roll the purchases into one loan would delay the other closings, which may violate contractual obligations.