I went to a council meeting immediately after the original vote to move the Police Department and expressed my concerns and those of the DDA regarding the move from the current location to the NWD building in back of the park. I am puzzled why we would even consider an engineering report on the move if all of the cost was taken into consideration when the move was originally voted on.
Also, at this meeting it was stated that the council had not heard from anyone who opposed the move. The vote and the move all happened so fast originally that the public was not aware of what was happening and was not given time to digest the loss and negative ramifications of this move to the taxpayers and the city as a whole. Here are some issues I would like to address.
First, the staffing issue. If I remember correctly, when we changed police chiefs there was a staffing issue and a person was hired to work part-time for city hall and part-time for the police department, making a new full-time staff position. What happened to this position? Will we need to hire someone for the new facility or wasn’t this position needed originally?
Second, the current police garage and storage facility has a heating system, water and sewer. It is a very large building, but it is in need of some maintenance work. This building could easily be renovated to provide the additional rooms that have been requested by the police department.
Third, we have had an excellent record of occupancy in the NWD building. At one time there were about 40 people employed at the facility. If you average 20 people through the years and they make $20,000 per year that means there is $400,000 of payroll brought to our community. This is money that can be spent locally.
Fourth, concerns the city should not be in the landlord business. I believe the rent from the occupants of the NWD facility paid for most of the cost to purchase of the NWD building and the building next to it which is used as the city garage.
Fifth, who, what or where will make up the lost revenue this property could generate over the years? I have put together a rough projection of the loss to the community. On average, I have come up with a cost of $30,000 per year to the city if the building becomes a police station. I get this projection from increased utility costs to the city, loss of utility charges to the tenant, loss of rent, loss of tax revenue and the loss of jobs for the people in our area. I used a rough history of what the property has generated over the past 10 years. I believe the police move will lead to layoffs in our city personnel in the near future.
I believe shutting down NWD and moving the police station from downtown would not be in the best interest of the community. You can change your decision and I hope you do.
– Timothy J. Decker