Front Royal planning for new police station

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — A representative of Moseley Architects came to the Town Council work session last week looking for guidance on how to proceed with plans for a new police station.

Council obliged Monday night, approving a resolution for a deign that would meet the department's anticipated needs for 2040.

The town plans to build a new police station at the corner of Kendrick Lane and Monroe Avenue. The chosen plan would cost about $7.78million and include a main building to house personnel and a 911 center and a support building for vehicle and evidence storage. Both buildings would meet the departmentís needs to keep up with expected growth and development in the community.

The 4-2 vote came after a failed effort to get the matter brought back to a work session over concerns about how to pay for it.

"We have $5.5 million funded," Councilwoman Bebhinn Egger said. "We do not have $8 million funded."

Councilman Eugene Tewalt said he supported building for future needs, but said he was concerned about the numbers.

"I'd like to table this proposal and take it back to a work session or the first meeting in March and discuss how weíre going to pay for this," he said.

Mayor Timothy Darr pointed out that the resolution only provides guidance to the architects drawing up plans. It does not commit any money to the project.

Moseley Architects Vice President Tony Bell last week presented council members with three possible options; the one favored in the resolution passed Monday, one with only the main building meeting anticipated 2040 needs and one with both buildings meeting current needs.

The initial price tags for the latter two projects were $7.33 million and $6.02 million, respectively. Both would require additions to be built in the future as police needs increase due to community growth and development. Those additions would push the total cost to $8.15 million and $9.26 million, respectively, according to Moseley estimates.

"That's assuming only a 2.5 percent increase in construction costs over the next 25 years," Councilman Bret Hrbek said.

He noted that interest rates probably wonít stay as low as they are now and the town should take advantage of that.

Thinking about future needs with this project is the right thing to do, Hrbek added.

"This county has a history ... of building schools and next year putting a trailer on it, because we donít prepare for the future. We prepare for whatís necessary next year," he said.

Town resident Mike McCool spoke on the issue during the public comment portion of the meeting.

He noted the $7.78 million price tag was a hefty increase from the once-proposed $4 million.

McCool recommended the town consider a two-story building instead of two buildings.

"I don't care what they tell you, It's cheaper to build a two-story building," he said.

Last week, Bell said that idea was rejected because it could slow officers down in the case of an emergency.

To help offset the difference in the proposed cost, the council has advertised a real-estate tax rate of 14 cents per $100 of assessed value, one cent more than the current rate. That penny would be added to the 1.67 cents per $100 already earmarked for the project.

An increase of one cent would generate about $125,000, Town Manager Steven Burke said last week.

Council must hold a public hearing on that tax rate and pass it twice for it to take effect.

Once advertised, the tax rate cannot be increased for the coming fiscal year. It can, however, be lowered.

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