Before the Council asks you to pay for a new Safety Center, it seems only fair to let you know what you’ll be buying. Trouble is, I don’t know.
Here are the options that have been discussed or mentioned:
Option 1: the Safety Center Task Force recommendation of June 22 is to build a new Safety Center of 47,500 square feet housing both the police and fire departments. The Task Force further recommended two sites, both south of the current Safety Center along Highway 3 and “strongly encourage[d]” the Council to study the flood protection needed for the current site (presented to the Council @ the 8/31 work session) and “explore ideas” for reuse.
Option 2: the Minority Opinion from Task Force member Ray Cox (and a discussion over on Locally Grown about this) Ignoring the problematic way in which Mr Cox chose to get his opinion inserted into the discussion, he recommended either reusing the current safety center for police only and building anew fire station (if financial and engineering data bear out his belief that this would be the lowest cost option) or
Option 2a: also from the Minority Report if the engineering and financial data don’t support number 2, to build separate police and fire stations on a new site. Separating the two facilities would allow the city to better account for the fire costs for the rural fire association and allow each facility to expand to meet its own needs independently. The City has been urged to consider minority opinion by both the Chamber of Commerce and NDDC.
Option 3: Leave the fire station at the current location and build a new police station. The current site is centrally located which is more important for fire response time. I’ve only heard rumors about this one.
Mayor Rossing asked at our last work session what other information we needed to be able to include the project in the CIP. I need to know what project we are committing to build – which means the Council must pass a resolution indicating our choice. In order to get to that decision, I need to see cost comparisons and I need to know where proposed numbers come from. There are quite a lot of numbers to think about (in no particular order):
- Land costs are not included in price estimates – what are estimated land costs?
- What standard was used for space recommendations? I don’t need minutiae, I just want to know the source of the space and cost per square foot numbers and they are not pulled from the air. Call me an information paranoid – I check footnotes and read cross-references because I fear someone may be trying to mislead me at any moment (or, another way, from the Moscow Rules: Assume nothing).
- What costs can be anticipated for reuse of the existing site for a purpose other than public safety?
- What other possible funding sources are there? We’ve noted contributions from the rural fire association and the college – what kind of $$’s are we talking about? Does our choice of location/combination have any bearing on these? I’ve heard there are possible state sources…really? I don’t generally support chasing grants unless there’s it’s for one of those ” shovel-ready” projects (which this one isn’t, yet) – any possibilities here?