Mount Airy reluctant to pay for Town Hall repairs

$150,000 tab projected on county-owned building

April 26, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Mount Airy Town Hall needs as much as $150,000 for renovations, money the town is reluctant to spend on a building Carroll County owns. Mayor Gerald R. Johnson asked the county commissioners yesterday to deed the building to the town.

"We are asking the county to give us the building and then we will renovate it," Johnson said in a meeting with the commissioners yesterday.

"But, I don't think it is fiscally responsive to put $150,000 in a building we don't own. We are asking for something that makes sense for both the town and the county."

The town entered into a 20-year nominal lease - $1 a year - for the three-story brick building in 1992 and has spent about $35,000 in improvements, most to the heating and air-conditioning systems, said Johnson.

"Who says that in 2012 the lease would be renewed?" Johnson asked. "We have no guarantees."

The building needs a new roof, a metal fire escape to replace a decaying wooden one and a costly dismantling and replacement of the heating system.

With about 6,000 square feet, the 70-year-old building, originally a bank and more recently the town library, has ample space to reconfigure the offices for the staff, Johnson said

Mount Airy likes its Town Hall location on Main Street, but if the county is not amenable to its request, another downtown building recently became available.

"We don't have too many options," Johnson said. "It does not make sense to move Town Hall out of downtown. It is the mainstay of the town."

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