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In The Spotlight

North Entrance SignWhy did the City choose Maruhn Park as the location for the new Police Facility?

 The City looked at many sites as options for locating a new police facility. The City discussed options with architectural and engineering consultants.  The cost of a new facility would be in the millions of dollars no matter where the facility is placed, and will have to go to the citizens for property tax funding in addition to the sales tax that was approved in late 2016.   This .01% is the maximum additional sales tax the City can levy by law.  

There were three things the Council considered in making the decision:  

1.            Cost – What will the cost be to the citizens

2.            Will it meet needs of the Department as Kalama grows into the future

3.            How soon can construction begin so as to provide a more safe, secure and adequate space for the Department.

 In looking at Real Estate the City has to operate very cautiously in order to avoid having an effect on the market value of a property which is why discussions are held in executive session until a purchase agreement has been reached.   The City is only allowed to pay fair market value when purchasing property. This requirement prevents the city from increasing its offer price to encourage reluctant sellers. Municipalities instead must pursue condemnation through eminent domain if a property owner is unwilling to sell their property at fair market value and the city requires the specific property (no suitable substitute) for the public good. This is often a lengthy and distasteful process.   

The City is faced with an urgent need for a facility for the Police as the current temporary location is not only insufficient in every way, but also is unsafe for both the staff and the public.  Unfortunately, due to the December 2015 Flood Kalama, rendering the previous police station uninhabitable the city has not had the standard capital facilities planning horizon of 6 years to implement the design, finance, land acquisition and construction of a new location for the Police Department. A police facility is a specialized building, the design is site specific.  The city chose to design the facility so it could have the most accurate and conservative request for funding go to the voters in November of 2017.  Property acquisition by the City of Kalama is the decision of the City Council. The longer the City Council reviewed sites presented by the Mayor and staff without choosing one, the longer the police would continue to be without a home.  So, a decision on the location was required to initiate design and to then derive a cost estimate. The City Council chose the site, recommended by Chief Gibson, the City Administrator and the Mayor. The Council believes the location is the most economical, while meeting the needs of a growing community and department and could be developed shortly after Proposition #1 goes before the voters. 

 What sites were considered:   Spotlight - Continued




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