by Terry Rogers
In July, Milford City Council received an estimated cost from Becker Morgan Group for a new police station. Council requested the estimate for a new building that could be constructed on land across the street from the current station which the department has outgrown. The estimate provided ranged between $13 and $16 million.
“We took the original site plan and prepared several options for the location of the station on the plot of land,” Brendan Frederick of Becker Morgan said. “We looked at placing the station toward the front of the land and toward the back of the land. We worked with the police department to determine what they would need and worked with Richard Y. Johnson & Sons who is currently constructing Troop 7 in Lewes.”
Frederick explained that the base cost for the building was approximately $13 million but this did not include what were known as “soft costs,” such as furnishings, technology and other items the police would need. Adding those would raise the cost up to around $16 million.
“One reason we wanted to discuss this now was because we hoped to secure legislative funding through the bond bill,” Eric Norenberg, City Manager, explained. “We asked for $6 million [over two years] and were given $300,000 [this legislative session]. We are working with our local legislators to try to get additional CFT money for roads and sidewalks around the facility. We have also looked at grants and other funding, but so far have not been very successful.”
Currently, the basement in the City Hall building cannot be used due to a flooding incident earlier this spring. The cost to repair the damage and add measures to prevent flooding in the future was around $250,000. There were concerns among Council that the repairs would not prevent the flooding from occurring again although Councilman Jason James remembered the contractor telling Council that it was unlikely it would occur again after the repair.
The City now has $33 million in reserves among various accounts, which include utility reserves. There has been discussion among Council members that the cost of the new station could be paid for with reserves. Councilman James cautioned that Council needed to look at both income and expenses before depleting reserve funds.
“$33 million sounds like a lot,” Councilwoman Lisa Peel said. “However, not all of that money is unencumbered. We need to be very cautious before we pull that money out of reserves.
Norenberg explained that the next steps for the police building were to determine whether the building would be placed on the front or back of the lot and to educate the public about the project.
“We want them to understand that this will be more than a police department,” Norenberg said. “There will be a community room the public can use. We want citizens to have a voice in what is included in the building, sticking closely to the history of the town. We will be scheduling public meetings so we can provide as much information as possible and the public can ask us the questions they have.”
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