FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The City of Fairmont and the Marion County Commission are at a standstill over the ownership of the third floor of the J Harper Meridith building.  

J. Harper Meredith Building in Fairmont (WBOY Image)

The City of Fairmont recently expressed its interest in obtaining the deed for the third floor of the building. The city feels they own the floor and previously expressed interest in moving to another location to have their own city building but have made no official plans yet.  

The J. Haper Meredith Building is recognized by County Commissioners Linda Longstreth and Randy Elliott as a joint city-county building. However, Commissioner Ernie VanGilder opposed issuing the deed to the city.  

“In my opinion, the only reason they wish to acquire this deed is because they want to move, and by moving, it’s in my estimate it could cost the taxpayers of Marion County approximately $5 million based on having a $20 million building to build this today. I think that’s unreasonable to put that on the Marion County taxpayer,” said Commissioner VanGilder.  

The city currently occupies 26% of the J Harper Meredith building and pays that same percentage for maintenance, utilities or anything the commission gives them a bill for, according to Elliott.  

J. Harper Meredith Building (WBOY Image)

If the city does decide to sell the space they currently occupy, it would need written consent from the county commission and it must sell to a political entity.  

The commissioners finalized the item on the agenda with a 2-to-1 vote in support of giving the city the deed to the floor.  

Commissioner VanGilger, who was the one vote for no, said he plans to file a “stay” which would stop the deed from being given to the city and bring the matter to the circuit court.