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HUBBARD Council balks at cost of station

By Tim Yovich

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Lawmakers oppose the idea of exceeding the loan amount.
HUBBARD -- An architectural firm has estimated the cost of a new police station to be between $1.3 million and $1.4 million, depending on what city officials would want to be included in the project.
Some council members say the estimates are too high and will be pared before a tax levy to pay for it is put before voters.
The administration and city council got the estimates from Baker, Bednar & amp; Associates Inc. of Howland last week.
Long debate
The question of a new police headquarters has been discussed for more than two years. It was put on the front burner in August after police raised health issues because of mold found in the structure, built in the 1870s.
Some lawmakers say the cost cannot exceed $1.1 million and even less would be better.
The city has available to it a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture low-interest loan for construction.
"Where is the other $200,000 going to come from?" William Williams, D-at-large, asked about the difference between the low end of the estimate and the loan amount.
Bare bones
Williams said council will most likely meet with the architect and police to determine what is really needed and find out the cost before placing a levy before voters that would generate revenue to repay the loan.
The administration wants to put a levy on the May primary ballot to determine if residents will pay for the facility.
"We're going to do everything we can do to make it cost-effective for the police and taxpayers," said Richard Keenan, chairman of council's safety committee.
"Anything above $1.1 million, I would be opposed," the 4th Ward Democrat stressed.
Baker, Bednar estimates the base construction and equipment costs at $998,650, with $136,395 for design and engineering fees, environmental testing and a 5 percent construction contingency.
With land acquisition and demolition of the existing building, the cost increases to $1,254,045.
With the addition of a prisoner transportation area with fencing and motorized gates, the cost climbs to $1,385,045.
"It's not acceptable," Keenan said of the total. "We are going to give the taxpayers the best plan we have."
"It looks on the high side," commented Raymond Farcas, D-at-large.
Farcas said lawmakers can't be too committed until after voters decide the levy's fate at the ballot box.
He pointed to last Tuesday's general election, in which levies for additional taxes were defeated in several school districts.
I'm not sure we can commit to a new building without a levy," Farcas said.