BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – City leaders in Bristol, Va., voted 4-1 for the school board to move forward with $27 million in loans through the Industrial Development Authority for a school building project.
The funds will be applied to construction costs and building fees for a new middle school next to Van Pelt Elementary.
Councilman Kevin Wingard voted against saying there was state funding underway and the city should wait.
“I don’t think the time is right,” Wingard said. “We have our legislators right now and it looks very supportive that there is a lot of money set aside for school renovations and school building across the state of Virginia. Again, I think we need to slow down and see exactly what lawmakers are going to do. »
“All we’re doing by kicking the box is we’re waiting for interest rates to go up, we’re waiting for construction prices to go up,” Perrigan said. “Even though it’s a tough decision to make, I certainly understand that, we’ve waited long enough and every time we’ve waited it just costs taxpayers more money.”
Perrigan said the interest rate on the loan will be locked at 4.7%. In addition, the consolidation of all the schools will considerably reduce the costs for the city in the long term.
“The savings we will generate through consolidation will actually pay for the new school,” he said. “What it will do is really save taxpayers money in the future by not having to do expensive rehabilitations on these old buildings.”
The loan documents will still require a final vote by the Industrial Development Authority, which will meet at midday on Wednesday. If approved, the school system could start as early as this June.