Newspaper continues review of Crestwood’s police facility project

Second in a series


Executive Editor

As the Crestwood Board of Aldermen re-cently took an initial step toward halting the construction of a proposed police facility, the Call reviews the history of the project that dates back to May 2000.

Aldermen last month adopted a resolution authorizing City Administrator 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. De-feasing the balance of the $9.83 million in certificates of participation, or COPs, is-sued 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.

This second installment of the chronology of the police facility project, based on city documents and published accounts in the Call, picks up in April 2003:

• April 22, 2003 — The Board of Aldermen approved two change orders to-taling more than $8,900 for the new police station. One change order resulted from reducing the size of the new police building to 29,197 square feet from 30,340 square feet, while the second change order involved reworking the design of the parking lot between City Hall and the new po-lice station.

• May 13, 2003 — Steve Knarr of Horner & Shifrin and Dan Redstone of Redstone Architects presented the proposed schematic design of the new police station to the Board of Aldermen. In their presentation, they noted that the building size has been reduced to 29,197 square feet from 30,340 square feet — a reduction of 1,143 square feet. Greer, who also serves as police chief, previously had told the board that the size of the building would be reduced. The reduction in the size of the police station will provide funding for needed parking lot improvements as well as nearly $1 million for improvements at City Hall.

• May 27, 2003 — A schematic design for a new police station with a total project budget of $8.7 million was approved by the Board of Aldermen. Aldermen voted 6-1 to approve the schematic design and the project budget. Ward 3 Alderman Don Maddox was opposed, while then-Ward 2 Alderman Gary Vincent was absent. Be-fore the vote was taken, Maddox had voiced concerns about the $505,000 estimated cost of a firing range proposed for the new police station, saying he didn’t believe the need for the firing range could be justified. But Greer said the firing range is a very valuable training tool. The firing range would include a simulator, a computer-based program that provides a more realistic approach to training, he said. The $8.7 million project budget also includes more than $963,000 for renovations to City Hall.

• Aug. 26, 2003 — During a discussion of the proposed cost of the new police facility, Greer told the Board of Aldermen that the costs would stay within the ceiling of the $9.83 million in bond-like certificates issued to fund the project. In a memorandum, Greer outlined that the total project cost was estimated at $8.7 million. The Board of Aldermen voted to authorize Greer to begin the creation of a construction document. Greer also told the board that Horner & Shifrin had requested change orders totaling $29,000 for additional survey, civil and structural engineering completed outside the scope of the original agreement. Aldermen approved a motion to issue a purchase order for the change orders.

• Sept. 8, 2003 — It was reported to the Police Board that the Board of Aldermen was moving ahead with the construction documents for the new police facility.

• Nov. 11, 2003 — The Police Board was given an update about the new police facility, which was moving ahead as planned.

• Jan. 12, 2004 — Greer told the Police Board that progress on the new police facility was slightly behind schedule and he hoped to have numbers from the architects in the near future.

• April 1, 2004 — In response to a Call questionnaire, resident Jerry Miguel, who was challenging Ward 3 Alderman Bernie Alexander in the April 6 election, stated that he did not believe the city could afford a new police building at this time.

• April 6, 2004 — Miguel defeated Alexander in the Ward 3 election. Jim Kelleher dominated the bid for the Ward 2 seat being vacated by Vincent, receiving 270 votes, while Jeffrey Schlink garnered 131 votes and Dan Himebaugh received 121 votes. Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding, then-board president, and Ward 4 Alderman Pat Duwe were unopposed in their re-election bids.

• April 13, 2004 — Not proceeding with construction of a new police building funded through the issuance of bond-like certificates could have grave consequences for the city of Crestwood, a representative of the city’s bond counsel, Mark Boatman of Armstrong Teasdale, told the Board of Aldermen.

In a memorandum, Boatman addressed four questions about the COPs, including when construction must begin. Boatman wrote, “As soon as possible. Under the COPs documents, the city covenanted to substantially complete construction of the police station within three years from the date of issuance of the COPs. The longer the city waits to begin construction, the greater the risk of a legal action from the COPs holders or the Internal Revenue Service. As mentioned above, the COPs holders have a right to have the police station built because it is part of their security. Since there is less money on deposit with the trustee than what they are owed, that right is not superfluous. As mentioned above, delay in construction also increases the risk that the COPs could be declared taxable arbitrage bonds, with all the negative consequences attending the event.”

The chronology continues next week.