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City OKs use of funds for new police station

June 15th, 2017 | Tommy Wells Print this article   Email this article  

Permanent fund can only be used for 'hard asset'

The Homer City Council moved a step closer to driving a nail into the city's plans for a new law enforcement center on Monday at their regular meeting. The council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance to tap into the city's $2.3 million permanent fund for construction purposes.

As part of the ordinance, council members noted the funds could not be used for the design process of a new law enforcement center. The city has seen several proposals for a new facility, which could cost up to $9 million.

"The only way I would want to see that used if it was actually on a hard asset like the boards, the nails, the concrete and not anymore into development," Councilwoman Shelly Erickson said.

The ordinance was amended to only fund construction and prevent the money from being used in the design process.

According to city records, two task forces have spent about two years of planning to build a new police station. Last month, a task force recommended building a new police station just north of the post office rather than expanding the current facility. There are currently no designs for the new facility.

Homer City Manager Katie Koester said the city needed to make a timely decision on the new police station so that it could be ready for any infrastructure initiative that could be coming from the federal government. She did say, however, there likely wasn't sufficient time to put the funding issue on the October ballot.

I think we should lock this down, like council member Erickson said," councilwoman Catriona Reynolds said. "So that when we're actually ready to move forward on the police station, this would reduce the amount that we're bonding our funding."

Voters turned down a $12 million bond proposal last year seeking to build a new police station.

As part of the ordinance, the council decided to pay off the Homer Public Library's current bond, saving over $1 million in interest.


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