Surry approves new debt

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Surry County’s Board of Supervisors approved issuing $6 million in new debt to support projects in the county’s capital improvement plan, including updating its mobile communications system and repairing the roof of two county buildings.

Surry is also refinancing existing debt in order “to take advantage of lower interest rates,” County Administrator Melissa Rollins confirmed. The board made the decision during a special meeting on Sept. 24 that was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The refinancing and new debt will be through the Virginia Resources Authority’s pooled financing program. The county has applied to the VRA to provide up to $18.3 million to refinance 2014 capital improvement plan projects, as well as projects that are part of the 2020 CIP.

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Established by the General Assembly, the VRA has funded more than 1,000 projects statewide valued at more than $7 billion of investment and the authority’s “financing solutions draw on VRA’s creativity and unique ability to provide revolving fund loans to localities at below-market interest rates and to issue bonds backed by the moral obligation of the Commonwealth,” according to a state website.

A substantial part of the meeting was a presentation from Michael Resch, of Tremco Roofing, who shared his initial findings about the roof leak issues with the board.

“We spent quite a bit of time up on the roof to try to determine why the roof was leaking and whether it needed to be replaced,” Resch said. The government center, located at 45 School St. in the town of Surry, is about 30 years old; an addition was constructed about 2007.

On the main part of the building, “the roof is getting at the age where it’s getting a little more difficult to patch at this point,” Resch said. “There’s probably 15 or 20 skylights on the building; most of them are at a point of needing replacement soon, and that could be incorporated into a roof project.”

Resch also told the board that a recent inspection of the roof of the government center showed some areas with wet insulation. Preliminary estimates are that it could cost between $700,000 to $1.2 million to repair or replace the roof on the government center; the building has about 50,000 square feet of floor space. At the courthouse, Resch said the building needs an estimated $4,000 in minor repairs within the next six months. Long term, the courthouse, which is about 8,500 square feet, might need $250,000 to fully replace the roof.

“Both the Surry County Government Center and our circuit courthouse have experienced some leaks and we wanted to make sure that we provide the board with a detailed presentation as to what those problems are and a recommendation from Tremco as to next steps as to getting these facilities repaired.” Rollins told the board. The county plans to move forward with a more detailed moisture inspection of the building roofs in order to decide on the next steps.

With all of the recent rain, “here at the government center and at the circuit courthouse, we’ve had a little bit of a rough summer. And we do not want to go through a rough winter,” she said. “We want to do what we can to make sure that we will be safe and dry and warm come this winter,” Rollins said.