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Finance subcommittee considers building funds

June 19, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Del. Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, said a finance subcommittee meeting led by Sen. Walt Helmick, is taking up the issue of funding public buildings - discussion sparked by the devastating Morgan County Courthouse fire last year.

Helmick, D-Pocahontas, chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

He said the committee will work to ensure all public buildings will have adequate insurance, and a reserve loan fund that will be handled by the Legislature will be set up to help bring these buildings up to speed with insurance. The committee also hopes to provide a capital improvement fund for fire suppression, such as a sprinkler system, which the Morgan County Courthouse did not have.

Cowles said the Morgan County Courthouse was not underfunded. He said the complex was insured for about $4.5 million, and that is what was paid after the fire.

Representatives from BRIM, the state insurance broker, Berkeley Springs insurance agent Jerry McGraw and Morgan County Commissioners Glen Stotler and Tommy Swaim testified this month at the finance subcommittee meeting.

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He said the reserve loan fund could help rebuild the Morgan County Courthouse, and it "will be first in line to receive the zero percent interest loan."

"We are looking at plan B," Stotler said, at a cost of about $9 million for a two-story structure, "which we could do," instead of about $13 million for a three-story courthouse.

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