Windsor Town Center renovations to be put to bid

Published 11:07 am Friday, June 16, 2017

Windsor’s Town Council voted unanimously during their meeting on Tuesday evening to authorize Town Manager Michael Stallings to enter into a contract with Moseley Architects for the next phase of the Windsor Town Center project. The contract requires Moseley to produce a final schematic design and construction documents, put the project out to bid and administer construction, with the cost of these services not to exceed $100,000.

Moseley quoted the town a price of $99,681 for these services and also included an optional price for furniture design and procurement of $15,138. The council chose not to include the additional cost for furniture per a recommendation from Brian Camden of Alpha Corporation, who suggested the town instead use existing state and federal contracts to purchase furniture at discounted rates.

The current set of plans for which Moseley will be producing a final schematic design and construction documents specify the gymnasium remaining its current size, a single meeting room, an art room and a kitchen. The first floor plan presented included a youth room, smaller gym and two multipurpose rooms, which council cut from the plan at a previous meeting.

Following a discussion of the new plans and how much money the town was willing to contribute to the project, Councilman N. Macon Edwards III made a motion to transfer $200,000 from the town’s general fund for the current fiscal year to its fund for the Town Center project, which passed unanimously.

“We’ve never invested any money in this town, ever, where the citizens could see the result,” said Councilman Greg Willis, expressing his support for the fund transfer. “We need to show these people they’re getting something for their tax dollars other than 12 to15 employees heading for retirement.”

Mayor Carita Richardson also expressed her continued support for funding the project, saying that she believed it would boost the town’s economic development by providing a convenient location for job fairs and would also benefit the town’s youth and senior citizen populations.

“We don’t have any youth and senior programs through Isle of Wight Parks and Recreation [in Windsor],” she said. “We pay taxes just like everybody else to Isle of Wight and we don’t get anything for it. A lot of our seniors, and even our young people, can’t drive to get to Smithfield, which is where all those programs are.”

The council also briefly discussed anticipated costs and revenues for the Town Center once renovations are complete. The council does not expect to incur any salary costs for staffing the center, as Isle of Wight Parks and Recreation has agreed to fulfill that obligation. Without salary costs, council is currently projecting upkeep costs of around $80,000 per year.

“We took what the Smithfield Center had and pared it down from there,” Stallings said.

In terms of generating revenue, Edwards expressed concerns that if the facility were to be used for weddings, which is how the Smithfield Center makes most of its money, it would be desirable to be able to serve alcohol there. But since the facility is technically still owned by Isle of Wight County Schools, which has leased the building to Windsor for $1 per year, it is still a school property and thus, prohibited from having alcohol on the premises. Ambrose also expressed concerns with the gymnasium’s lack of soundproofing for hosting concerts.

“It’s a basketball court; there’s an echo,” he said.

Stallings said that the town is already planning to install features to dampen the gym’s acoustics.

In other business, the council approved the town’s approximately $1.8 million budget for fiscal year 2017-2018, and also approved its five-year capital improvement plan, which will extend through fiscal year 2021-2022. The only tax changes specified in the approved budget are an increase in the town’s machinery and tools tax rate from $0.10 per $100 to $0.25 per $100 to keep the town revenue neutral using the county’s new method for assessing values.

They also transferred $3,000 from the police department’s fuel and tires line item in the current fiscal year’s budget to its maintenance line item to cover a contract for police reporting software.

The council concluded by going into closed session.