The Westminster Common Council voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance authorizing the purchase of the BB&T building during its twice-monthly meeting on Monday.
The council unanimously voted to introduce ordinance 884, which will authorize the city to purchase the BB&T bank building located at 45 W. Main St., for $1.6 million. The ordinance would also allow BB&T to maintain an ATM on the property following the change in ownership.
Council member Gregory Pecoraro said the new property would allow the city to bring all city offices together in one place in one of the most important properties on Main Street.
He also urged the Westminster Town Center Corporation be revitalized.
Council member Tony Chiavacci agreed. He said the city’s purchase of the property was possible because of thrifty financial decisions made by the city in the past. He also said he was glad that the city would purchase the building rather than potentially letting it sit vacant.
“Twenty years from now, there are going to be councils looking back that will thank us,” he said.
Robert Wack, council president, said the council was “taking a big bet on the future of Main Street.”
Pecoraro added that in the past, he felt the city’s actions to revitalize Main Street had been largely successful, citing the Carroll County Arts Council building and other properties .
“These things take time to mature,” Wack added.
Mayor Joe Dominick stressed the financial pudency of the decision to purchase the BB&T building, which will free the city from the burden of its current rent payments to lease the Winchester West building.
In the current fiscal year, the city budgeted $178,000 in rent for the space they lease from Winchester West LLC. The city is not the only tenant of the building.
The ordinance will be voted on at the next mayor and council meeting, and closing on the purchase is predicted to finish in March.
Also during Monday’s meeting, the council voted unanimously to update an agreement regarding police vehicles and presented checks from Fallfest to partner charities Monday night.
The council approved an item on the consent calendar that updated the agreement between the Carroll County Bureau of Fleet Maintenance and the city regarding fuel and maintenance for police vehicles. The amendment increased the rate per hour of shop repairs, which had not been changed since 2007.
“These agreements have greatly benefited the police department, both in terms of significant savings on fuel and vehicle maintenance costs as well as improvement in the general condition and safety of our fleet,” Westminster Police Chief Jeff Spaulding wrote in a memo requesting the amendment.
Marshall Green and Lori Graham, of the Westminster Fallfest Inc. board of directors, presented checks for $5,200 to each of the four partner charities involved in this year’s Fallfest.
Representatives from Human Services Programs of Carroll County Inc., Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, Tender Care Pregnancy Consultation Services and Westminster Lions Club were present at the meeting, and many thanked the city’s Department of Recreations and Parks for their cooperation with the event.
Green said 1,280 volunteers helped Fallfest get off the ground this year and that the coming together of volunteers is “a glimmer of light, of faith” in society.