Chief Myers: “[The committee] left reasonableness behind about four meetings ago.”
Thursday, Appleton’s Capital Facilities Committee’s will recommend the City construct a new police station not to exceed 65,000 square feet and not to exceed $11,812,500.
After studying Police Department needs since 2000, Police Chief Myers’ said he needed $18,000,000 to solve PD space problems. No wonder he’s not a happy camper. So how did the chief’s request get slashed by 34%?
Two reasons. Fiscal restraint and pushing needed spending into the future.
The basic charge of the Facilities Committee is to review capital projects – usually very large ticket items – and apparently, to look carefully at both the fiscal and service needs of the community. Formed only recently, the Committee is comprised of two alderpersons, two community members and five department heads.
As far as fiscal restraint goes, one of the citizen members said it perfectly. (Quoting meeting minutes…) “Square footage isn’t what’s important. What’s important is that the Chief can manage 105 officers in the space provided and keep them effective while caring how much it will cost the taxpayers.” The city’s Finance Director put it in terms of the debt service that the current tax levy can support. What you and I can support. Quality, serviceability, security. What we need, but not necessarily all the PD might want.
And pushing off spending. It seems the Committee accepts the argument more parking is needed, and most agree PD employees can use downtown ramps. So although $1.7M for a parking deck was deleted from this project, PD needs will be looked at in the near future in connection with overall downtown parking needs. We will see that $1.7M (or most assuredly more) in the near future. Bet your next parking ticket on it.
Also, Chief Myers is concerned about growth. He claims building only 65,000 sq. ft. (down from the 88,000 he requested initially) will hamper the department’s ability to grow in the future. The current station, built in 1973, is about 40,000 sq. ft. Will a new expanded version last another 30 years?
Tomorrow: Recovered bicycles in City Hall attic?
Jo Egelhoff, FoxPolitics.net