August 4, 2014 10:35:43 AM
Starkville aldermen are expected to address a purchase contract for Cadence Bank on Tuesday, but the city's progress toward a possible transaction is unknown after staff members were only recently authorized to pursue the property.
Last month, the board approved a non-binding letter of intent to begin negotiations for the estimated $2.55 million, almost-39,000-square-foot facility, which would be renovated into a new Starkville Police Department headquarters if acquired.
As of the signing of the mid-July agreement, the city had at least 120 days to strike a deal on the property.
Tuesday's agenda, which also includes a possible $5 million economic development bond issuance, lists a purchase contract for the property as an action item, but city officials would not comment Monday on the progress of any negotiations.
Chief Administrative Officer Taylor Adams previously said Starkville would utilize $1.27 million in certificates of participation previously earmarked for renovations to the current City Hall and sell lagoon property north of the city for an estimated $400,000-$600,000. Starkville could also then procure an estimated $780,000 from other assets, including a possible transaction of the city's current administrative home on Lampkin Street.
While the city would acquire the building, the property it sits upon and its furnishings, turning the physical building into a police department headquarters might require about $250,000-$350,000 in renovations, Adams said. Those fixes could be funded by utilizing other asset transactions -- the CAO did not specify which properties -- or borrowing, but the entire acquisition and reprograming process should be tax-neutral and not require a millage increase, Mayor Parker Wiseman said last month.
Cadence Bank officials have repeatedly said they'll build a new branch headquarters on Russell Street, thereby mitigating the potential tax loss associated with taking its current home off the rolls for governmental usage.
"If we were to purchase (Cadence Bank), without a doubt on the first day the keys were turned over to the city, the facility would serve better as a police station than (the current City Hall) after $1.27 million in renovations," Wiseman said last month. "We owe it to ourselves to do our due diligence to see if we can meet the financial mandate with this group. If we can do it, there's not a question that it's a better deal for our city than our current course, and I say that as a person who put the current course before the board."
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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