This architectural rendering shows the design of the new Morehead City city hall building to be constructed on Bridges Street. City officials anticipate construction will begin within the month. (Waller, Todd & Sadler Architects graphic)

MOREHEAD CITY — With architectural plans finalized, a construction firm lined up and financing secured, the city will soon be able to begin construction of the new city hall building on Bridges Street.

During its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, the city council authorized First Bank as the city’s official depository for funds for the construction project. Last month, the council selected First Bank as the financial lender for a portion of the project, estimated to cost $7,616,000 total.

“Funds from the loan that will be closing here shortly will be deposited into an account there (at First Bank) and withdrawn as the construction moves forward, so this is just a resolution authorizing the opening of an account at the bank,” City Manager Ryan Eggleston told the council Tuesday. There was no additional discussion on the matter during the meeting.

Mr. Eggleston said he anticipated closing on the bank loan last week. Based on the agreement with First Bank, Morehead City will borrow $3.1 million at an annual interest rate of 2.45% for a term not to exceed 15 years. The city will make a down payment of approximately $4.5 million, and its annual debt payment will be $257,000.

Per state requirements, the council last month filed a financing application with the N.C. Local Government Commission, which Mr. Eggleston said recently has also been approved.

Goldsboro-based firm Daniels & Daniels Construction Co. will carry out construction of the new building. With nearly all the pieces now in place, Mr. Eggleston told the News-Times he hopes to soon issue a notice to proceed and break ground on the project within the month.

“My hope would be before the end of this month, you’ll see that company start to move in, so that is very exciting,” he said.

The new city hall building, which will house consolidated government offices and other municipal functions, will be constructed on the site of the former Charles Wallace school building on the 1100 block of Bridges Street. The Charles Wallace building was demolished last year to make way for the new construction.

The new city hall will be a two-story, 20,000-plus-square-foot building with attached council chambers on the second floor. There is space in the building site for future growth, with long-term plans to turn the area into a municipal campus with several government buildings. The city’s police department is situated to the northwest of the site.

In other business, the council voted to pass a resolution declaring portions of Roanoke Avenue and East Coral Drive as abandoned roadways. The matter had been included on December’s consent agenda, but was pulled by Councilman George Ballou for further discussion and to gather public comment.

“This council has gotten in trouble before taking action like (the resolution) without giving the public and anyone an opportunity to comment, that was the concern I had last month,” Mr. Ballou said.

Several nearby residents spoke in favor of declaring the roadway “abandoned,” saying the section of road in question has never been used for that purpose and is not included on the city’s street plan. The council passed the resolution unanimously.

The council also approved a series of budget amendments related to a water/sewer capital project. The items had been included on the month’s consent agenda, but Councilman David Horton requested they be pulled for further discussion. Finance Director Jewel Lasater clarified the funds are to construct water/sewer infrastructure for a new subdivision in the Calico Creek area.

The council also took the following actions Tuesday:

•    Approved the rezoning of 4707 South Shore Drive from R20 (single-family residential, minimum lot size 20,000 square feet) to R5S (single-family residential, minimum lot size 7,000 square feet) district.

•    Adopted the fiscal year 2020-21 draft budget schedule with amendments to include two additional budget workshops.

•    Approved the consent agenda, including the following items:

•    Minutes of the Dec. 10 regular council meeting.

•    The finance director’s report and tax collector’s report.

•    A notice of tax overpayments in the amount of $1,372.17 for the month of December.

•    The requests for refunds of overpayment of ad valorem taxes of $8,619.79 for December.

•    Resoultion 2020-R-1 in appreciation to Fire/EMS Deputy Chief Jack Manley upon his retirement.

•    Governmental capital project budget ordinance amendment 2019-49.

Contact Elise Clouser at; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

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