MARS — Mars Borough Council has approved a debt ordinance that moves forward plans to purchase four parcels belonging to Dutilh United Methodist Church.
The ordinance allows the borough to take on a $270,000 mortgage loan from Mars Bank.
“The next step is we have to file paperwork with the DCED (Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development),” said Brad Price, who sits on the council and its finance committee, “to make sure we're within the financial parameters.”
The borough falls “way under” the legal debt threshold of 2.5 times the entity's annual revenue, Price said. Mars Borough's annual revenue is about $1 million.
Price said the DCED's preliminary review of the proposed debt found everything to be satisfactory. Official findings aren't released until after debt proceedings are filed.
“We're very close to doing that,” Price said.
The parcels — a church, school and parking lots — will provide the borough with adequate office space and room for a tenant.
The loan has a lease caveat by which the borough can renew the lease of an unidentified tenant each year. There already has been interest in the space from potential renters, according to Price.
“There's really no other arrangement that would satisfy all our needs,” Price said. “There's all kinds of possibilities (here).”
The loan is for 10 years and has no premature payment penalty. Price will encourage the borough to pay it off as soon as possible.
“We've budgeted for it,” Price said. “The payment plan is not (extreme).”
The loan would be taken out at a tax-exempt borrowing status interest rate. Price anticipates the borough paying $2,500 or $2,600 per month on it.
The loan helps the borough move in a good direction, according to Price. The extra space will allow for opportunities, such as a new community center, and provide space for a business or organization to establish itself and grow.
“It really is good news,” Price said. “I think it's the best investment in town.”