Call continues chronology of Crestwood police facility project

Third in a series


Executive Editor

As the Crestwood Board of Aldermen moves toward halting the construction of a proposed police facility, the Call continues its review of the project that dates back to May 2000.

Aldermen last month adopted a resolution authorizing City Ad-ministrator Don Greer to initiate the process of defeasing bond-like certificates issued in late 2002 to fund the construction of the police facility. The resolution states the board intends to defease the bond-like certificates before Oct. 15 when a principal and interest payment totaling roughly $553,500 is due. Defeasing the balance of the $9.83 million in certificates of participation, or COPs, issued to fund the police facility would bring an end to the project, which has become a focal point of residents’ dissatisfaction with the city’s precarious financial condition. Roughly $1.6 million has been spent to date on the project.

Voters in August 2002 approved Propo-sition S, the extension of a half-cent sales tax to fund construction of a new police building, fund repairs at the Government Center and allow the continuation of the city’s street repair and replacement program.

The half-cent, capital-improvements sales tax had been scheduled to end in 2008, but voter approval of Proposition S extended the sales tax until 2023. In November 2002, the city issued the COPs to fund the construction of the new police building and repairs to the Government Center.

The third installment of the chronology of the police facility project, based on city documents and published accounts in the Call, picks up in April 2004:

• April 27, 2004 — Newly elected Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel wanted a second opinion about tax issues related to the city’s issuance of the bond-like certificates issued to fund the construction of the new police building. Crestwood’s bond counsel, Mark Boatman of Armstrong Teas-dale, told aldermen April 13 that not proceeding with construction of a new police building could have grave consequences for the city.

In particular, Boatman stated in an April 5 memorandum that if the board decided not to construct the police building and retire the certificates with the unused proceeds when the certificates become callable in 2007, the certificates of participation “could become taxable under the Internal Revenue Code.”

Miguel, who was sworn in April 27, asked that in light of comments made by some residents whether it would be “prudent for this board to consider getting a second opinion on the, on this tax, IRS tax issue with the COPs certificates?”

Ward 1 Alderman Richard LaBore later suggested that City Attorney Rob Golter-man see whether his firm, Lewis, Rice & Fingersh, had an expert that could be used for a second opinion and what the cost would be. Golterman said, “We do have that expertise and I could give you some idea of what that might cost.”

• May 25, 2004 — The Board of Alder-men defeated a motion to spend roughly $4,000 to $5,000 to obtain a second opinion regarding tax consequences if the bond-like certificates issued by the city to fund construction of the new police building were retired early. Board members two weeks earlier agreed to have Golterman gather information about the cost of ob-taining that second opinion.

Such a legal opinion would cost roughly $2,000. The city attorney also suggested that additional information would need to obtained from an actuarial accountant, which could cost another $2,000 to $3,000.

Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood made a motion to spend the money to seek the second opinion and his motion was seconded by Ward 1 Alderman Richard La-Bore.

The board voted 5-2 to defeat the motion with LaBore and Miguel voting in favor of it. Opposed were Trueblood, Acting Mayor Richard Breeding of Ward 1, Ward 2 Al-derman Jim Kelleher, Ward 4 Alderman Tom Fagan and Ward 4 Alderman Pat Duwe. Ward 3 Alderman Don Maddox was absent.

Also that night, some residents, including Judy Miguel, Jerry Miguel’s wife, said they wanted more public input and more information about the construction of the new police building. Judy Miguel asked whether residents would be able to view a model of the new police building and if there would be time for public input before construction begins.

“… I mean we voted on a capital-improvement tax and the police building I guess was there,” Judy Miguel said. “I don’t think people realized — I did not realize what I was doing when I voted for it and that’s my own fault, but I’m thinking now where is the information on the building that we’re building or supposed to be building? Is there going to be a model, in-formation on what we’re doing and why we’re doing it?”

The project budget for the new police facility and renovations to City Hall totals $8.7 million, including site work and professional fees. The budget for the new po-lice facility itself, including furniture, fixtures and equipment, totals roughly $5.85 million.

Greer later said during the meeting, “… Part of the reason that this project has not come forward is, quite candidly, I do not believe that if bid today, the project would come in under budget. I just don’t believe that. The most recent architectural estimate that we have indicates that it is more expensive. When we started this process two years ago, however long ago it was, I promised the board that I would not bring you a project that was not under budget. And that has been the energy and the effort of both the director of public works, the police staff and myself is to make sure, with some degree of confidence, a project that will bid under the $5.85 million. One alternative that is being explored, he said, is the concept of retrofitting City Hall to include a new police facility.

• June 22, 2004 — A work session re-garding the concept of retrofitting City Hall to include a new police facility is con-ducted by the Board of Aldermen.

During the regular meeting that followed, aldermen authorized Greer to pursue the possibility of “retrofitting” City Hall to include a new police facility. The Board of Aldermen voted 6-1 to authorize Greer to renegotiate an agreement with Horner & Shifrin Inc. to begin designing a police facility that would be incorporated into City Hall.

Miguel was opposed, while LaBore was absent. Miguel voted against the proposal because he said he expected the new de-sign that incorporates the police facility into the City Hall building would cost the city about half the price as the stand-alone police facility.

The chronology continues next week.