A commission under the umbrella of the City of Meridian has finalized the purchase of the Meridian Law Enforcement Center.
The city was leasing the facility, which was redeveloped into the police station in 2012, from Meridian Law Enforcement Center, LLC.
On Friday, the Meridian Urban Renewal Authority, a commission under the city’s umbrella, bought the station. The deal will save the city more $9 million, according to city officials.
The commission issued a $2,555,000 bond and also paid $291,778 towards the purchase of the building, according to Brandye Latimer, the city's chief financial officer. The commission will pay off the bond gradually from 2022 to 2031.
The bond payments each year will be less than the rental payments the city would pay if it was renting the property. In 2022, for instance, the city will pay $294,212. If the city was still renting the facility, it would have paid $549,809 that year, according to a news release from the city.
The city’s lease with Meridian Law Enforcement Center, LLC would have lasted until 2042. But now, MURA only has to make bond payments for the next ten years — and those bond payments are less than the rental payments — so the city will, overall, save $9,035,121, according to the city.
The closing transaction requires Meridian Law Enforcement Center, LLC to do maintenance and repairs on the building.
“Such savings not only free up cash flow for the City, but it also strengthens the City’s standing in the eyes of credit rating agencies like S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investor Service Inc.,” the city said in the press release.
The previous owner, Meridian Law Enforcement, LLC, is an entity created by David Watkins and Jason Goree in 2011, according to the press release. Watkins Development remodeled the building about nine years ago so it could serve as a police station.
“As Mayor, one of my priorities is the safety of our community,” Mayor Percy Bland said in the press release. “I applaud our partnership with the Meridian Urban Renewal Authority to ensure we have control of our assets like the Law Enforcement Center. Also, I want to thank Citizens National Bank for helping us complete this transaction. With their help, the City will save in excess of $9 million. These savings can be used to help strengthen our police force.”