The Falls Supervisors held their last monthly meeting at the soon-to-be under construction municipal building Monday night.
As Supervisors, Zoning Hearing Board and Planning Commission meetings relocate to the Middletown Township municipal building beginning in June – and as Falls Township staff finalize relocation plans to a temporary site at 450 Lincoln Highway, Suite 225 – progress continues on plans to renovate the existing municipal building.
On Monday night the governing body rejected the construction bids for the municipal building and rebid the project. Township attorney Mike Clarke said that most of the bids Falls received “had a fatal defect” and could not be considered. The potential bid award following the rebid, could come in July, he said.
Rebidding may “slow down” the project a bit and push the 2024 construction completion date, according to Supervisors Chairman Jeff Dence, but noted the board is committed to moving forward.
Clarke said a number of general contractors picked up building specifications but did not bid on the project. As part of the rebid, Clarke said his office would reach out to contractors that had previously inquired about the project to determine why they did not bid.
When the construction bids are awarded, the township will be prepared with finances needed to fund the project. The Supervisors voted unanimously to authorize issuance of $20,055,000 in bonds to cover the municipal building construction costs.
Because Falls received a “very strong rating” of Aa2 from Moody’s Investors Service, the township realized a savings of municipal bond insurance and was able to secure a 3.31 percent interest rate from Bancroft Capital, LLC of Fort Washington, according to Christopher Gibbons, Concord Public Financial Advisors, Inc. founder and principal.
“It’s indicative of the township’s financial position,” Gibbons said of the rating, which led to frenzied bidding among underwriting syndicates. “There was a lot of competition for these bonds.”
The bond was expected to be $22 million, but the high rating helped cut costs, Gibbons said. Since the funds would not be needed immediately, Gibbons suggested investing money in the meantime. The investment would generate $630,000 which could be earmarked for the municipal building project, Gibbons said. Falls will contribute $15 million from its general fund toward the project.
Gibbons estimates annual debt service at approximately $2.5 million over a 10-year term. The bond would be repaid by December 2023, he said.