Town receives bids for West Main Street extension

FRONT ROYAL  – With bids for phase one of the West Main Street extension returned, the last step before construction is for the Town Council to determine how to fund the project. 

The lowest bid came from the Mount Jackson-based G.B. Foltz Contracting for $1,082,975, which Town Finance Director B.J. Wilson said was slightly more than an $800,000 estimate. Phase one will connect ITFederal’s site with Kendrick Lane, which is about one-third of the way to West Main Street. Jennifer McDonald, Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development executive director, previously stated that ITFederal would not be able to begin operations until phase one is completed.

An Economic Development Access Program grant will cover $650,000 of the cost, and Wilson said the town could select from two options to fund the remaining $432,975.

When the town approved a 2-cent tax increase in 2012, Wilson said one-third of that increase was dedicated toward the West Main Street extension. At a rate of about $75,000 per year, the town set aside $440,681 for the extension. Wilson said using that money would be the ideal option because the town would avoid accruing interest.

Wilson said the other funding option would be using the New Market Tax Credit Program, which allows the town to pay just the interest on loans for seven years and then refinance the project.

The Town Council at a recent work session agreed with Wilson that using money already set aside would likely be the best option. Councilman Eugene Tewalt noted: “That’s what the money was put in for, I say take it out. I don’t want to see us borrow any more.” Councilman William Sealock seconded that and said the money needs to be used for what it was intended.

The Town Council will vote on whether to follow Wilson’s recommendation at its regular 7 p.m. Monday meeting. Construction should be complete about four months after it begins, which Wilson said could be within a month after the town chooses a funding method.

Phase two of the project, which will complete the connection between West Main Street and Kendrick Lane, was estimated to cost about $1.6 million. Wilson recommended that the town use the New Market Tax Credit Program to fund that portion of the extension, but noted that decision would not be made for some time.