It's official: Albany voters will decide this spring on an $18 million bond request to build a new police and new fire station.

Members of the Albany City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to ask voters to authorize the issuance of up to $18 million in general obligation bonds for the project. The election is May 19.

If approved, voters will pay 29 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. 

At the council's next meeting, Feb. 25, representatives from Mackenzie, the Portland architectural firm working on the design for both buildings, will be on hand to present their designs.

The bond measure request is based on recommendations from the city's Public Safety Facilities Review Committee, which gave its official report in December. The full, formal recommendation can be found online at http://www.cityofalbany.net/images/stories/citycouncil/archive/2014/cc_20141210_pac.pdf.

The total cost of the project is expected to be $24.4 million. In addition to the bond request, the city plans to use $1.4 million in funds from the Central Albany Revitalization Area, which CARA approved last fall. The balance is to come from the settlement the city won when Pepsi abandoned its plans to build a plant in Albany.

The plan is to keep the fire station at its current location on Lyon Street but close part of Sixth Avenue if necessary for expansion, and to move the police department to Pacific Boulevard for enough property to be functional.

The city set a size limit for the police station at 41,363 square feet. The limit for the fire station is 25,500 square feet. 

The building cost limit breakdown, as recommended by the committee, is $15,414,419 for the police station and $8,784,484 for the fire station. The remaining $201,500 is the cost of issuing the bonds.

Voters turned down a $20.3 million request in November 2013 to build the new stations. Members of the facilities review committee said they didn't believe voters had enough information about what was needed, and wanted to see first what their tax dollars would buy.

On Wednesday, councilor Floyd Collins reminded the audience the measure is "not to exceed" $18 million and could still be adjusted downward.

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