City considering plans to buy police department building

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Mayor Percy Bland is working on a plan to buy, rather than lease, the building occupied by the Meridian Police Department.

"We have a lease agreement right now. In a couple of months the lease agreement will change and go up for us. We want to go on and as best we can, do everything we can to take ownership of the building, if possible, or be in a more favorable lease agreement," says Bland.

The city has had the lease agreement for several years and pays $25,000 a month. But the price is slated to go much higher later this year, unless something changes.

"If we're going to pay $25,000, or a note for that kind of money, that we have ownership of the building. And maybe relieve our city taxpayers some money on what we're paying for a building that we're leasing. That is what our goal will be in our next transaction," says Mayor Bland.

Attorney Trey Harrison with Butler Snow is helping with this project and says it's not an easy transaction.

"I’m waiting to get the information from Mr. Harrison. He is looking at all the documents and it turns out to be a complicated transaction. We know all the debt that we have to pay off in order to move forward. Soon as we get that on the way, then I’ll be able to update the city council," says Bland.

We asked the mayor just how much debt the city has. He said he can't comment on that as legal counsel is still evaluating that.

"We have talked in principle about what it is, but he is still looking into some other things just to make sure. It is one of the things that we are looking at," says Bland.

The mayor says a meeting with the building's owner is a next step in the process of possibly purchasing the building outright.