WHAT WE'VE REPORTED For the last several months, Smyrna Town Council has been discussing the latest police station expansion project, which failed in a non-binding referendum 327 to 307 in the April 30 town election.
The $4.9 million proposed building — at roughly 26,000 square feet — would address the current issues with the building on Glenwood Avenue such as space.
Smyrna Town Council held a special council meeting Aug. 28 to address concerns with the proposed building as discussions yielded little progress.
Questions were asked regarding needs of the project versus what aspects could be cut out. Wayde Clendaniel of Fearn Clendaniel Architects — who did the feasibility study along with engineering firm i3a — said only a few things could be cut out of the project for a total of $400,000.
Councilman Jeff Flairty said if the project remains at $4.9 million, the project alone would lead to a 4.22-cent tax increase per $100 of assessed value.
WHAT'S NEW Town Council made progress with the proposed police station expansion at their Sept. 4 council meeting by approving the feasibility study completed this spring, but not without a stipulation of how to move forward.
Councilwoman Regina Brown brought forward three motions to council from the Police Building Committee, the first of which was for approval of the feasibility study that proposed a $4.9 million expansion.
Councilman Jeff Flairty proposed a friendly amendment suggesting council put out Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from other architecture firms not to exceed $3.5 million, excluding contingency fees.
Brown feared downsizing the project would hurt police operations as the study was based on the needs of the department. Chief of Police Wil Bordley said cutting the project budget could result in Smyrna needing another expansion in the near future.
Councilman Bob Johnson agreed with Flairty.
"We should have at least two to three options to look at," Johnson said.
Flairty said there might even be a chance that the results of the RFQ could be that the town couldn't build a police station expansion for $3.5 million but at least the town tried, at no extra cost, to see if the price of the project could be cut down.
Ultimately the amendment was approved 4-3. The motion, including the amendment, to approve the feasibility study with the stipulation was approved 5-2.
A second motion was approved 6-1 that would have the project's construction manager and architect checking in with the town on the status of the project.
"This gives me two entities informing me of how the project is going," Bordley said.
Council also approved a motion 6-1 regarding funding options for the project. Flairty proposed a motion for the town administrators and Finance Committee to put together a financial package by the first council meeting in November describing how the town would fund a $3.5 million project. He also asked for the town to look into creating an impact fee for the police station as other services in town such as water and electric have impact fees.
Page 2 of 2 - "I do think a portion should be shouldered by the existing residents," Flairty said. "I also feel a portion should be paid for by future residents, who will have police from the day they move here."
WHAT'S NEXT The Town of Smyrna will not put out a RFQ in hopes of receiving alternative suggestions for what the police station expansion should be. Town Manager Dave Hugg said they should have the RFQ out in about three weeks. He said they should have something back around mid-October.
"One thing we do have is the feasibility study information available so any architectural firm has access to that and doesn't have to spend four to six weeks doing their own research," Hugg said.
Then, the Finance Committee is supposed to have a financial package regarding funding options ready for council to view by the first meeting in November.
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