By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Transfer of former M&F Bank property downtown could officially happen as early as today, closing a $1.2 million deal between Renasant Bank and the city of Tupelo.
The city property purchase will provide Tupelo Water & Light with a new location for the utility’s billing and collections officers, which currently operate in cramped quarters less than a block away.
City Council members met for a special meeting Monday related to the land acquisition, unanimously approving buying the downtown two-story property no longer used after M&F Bank merged with Renasant Bank and closed the 333 Court St. location earlier this month.
Details of the property contract show the city paid less for the bank property than appraised value and asking price. Included in the deal, the city will pay $15,000 for furniture and other items inside.
“It’s already built for what we need,” said Johnny Timmons, manager of the city utility department.
The 11,118 square feet of space will more than triple space available in the existing location, which forces multiple employees to use office space intended for a single person and provides inadequate space during peak times for residents waiting to pay bills.
Customers can expect to use the new location in February, Timmons said.
The ground floor of the new location also will offer added convenience of a second drive-through window for customers to pay bills, along with private meeting space.
Billing and other documents requiring long-term storage will occupy the second floor.
City officials have not made public intended use of the existing TW&L billing and collections location.