NOTE: An earlier draft of the MILFORD REVIEW was published with an incorrect version of this story that suggested the fee had been passed. We greatly regret that error and offer now the correct version of the story.
By Terry Rogers
A new building permit surcharge that was proposed to go toward expanding the Milford Police Department Headquarters was voted down at the Milford City Council Meeting on Monday, September 24. The proposed fees would have started in October and created a 0.5 percent surcharge on all building permits. These fees would have be placed in a fund designated for acquisition, construction and/or remodeling the current headquarters located on NE Front Street.
“The building was completed in 1979 to accommodate 19 police officers. Today, the building accommodates 30 officers and support staff,” said Skip Pikus, a member of the Police Action Committee along with Councilpersons Doug Morrow and Katrina Wilson. “The fact is that we may be forced to construct a new facility due to the fact that the back of the station is adjacent to the river, while the front of the station is very close to the street.” Many of the mechanical systems for the building are located in the attic, making it difficult to add additional floors to the existing building.
Currently, a 0.25 percent surcharge is added to building permit fees to help fund the local volunteer fire department, Pikus added.
When the current police station was completed in 1979, it was a state-of-the-art building, but as Milford has grown, the police force has grown as well. Today, rooms originally intended as interview and conference rooms have been converted into office space to accommodate almost twice the number of officers that the building was designed to house. In addition, the current building falls short of the state regulations for prisoner holding. State regulations require men and women to be separated completely, and it is difficult to do so in the Milford station as it stands today. With the permit surcharge being voted down the measure will not be brought before Council unless it is first reintroduced in the Police Action Committee.
“I doubt it will come up in the next few months,” commented Councilman Skip Pikus. “There is a need for a new Police department but every department is currently cutting their budget . Our police deptartment is too small and something needs to be done. We are currently working on it as we speak.”