Williamstown, MA | Police Station
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Replacement Police Station to be built at site of Turner House at 825 Simonds Road. Plans are to retain and renovate existing building and to add an addition on the back side of the building, with public entrance from parking lot on north side of building. Additional property to fully contain the building and parking lot will be donated by Williams College (Article 24.)

 

WHY?

Existing station does not meet contemporary safety standards for officers, victims, visitors and detainees. No protected entrance from vehicle to booking area and holding areas for detainees, both spaces require half flight of stairs up or down to access. No separate area for victim interviews, complaint filing, meeting privately with an officer.

 

PROCESS

Facility Committee identified need for replacement station and developed general space needs analysis for a new facility. Planning and Design funds raised at Town Meeting earlier this decade. Town investigated feasibility of using Turner House for a station and Special Town Meeting in November, 2017 approved purchase of the property for Police Station.

Architect Caolo Bieniek & Associates and Owner’s Project Manager Architectural Consulting Group hired in December 2017 to develop plans with Town. Project plans received necessary approvals from Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals in March, 2018.

Final design placed out for bid in April, 2018 and bids were received in early May, 2018.

If approved by Town Meeting, bonds will be issued by the end of May, 2018 and construction contracts finalized so construction can start as early as June, 2018, with an anticipated completion date of summer 2019.

 

COST

Project estimated to cost between $5,000,000 and $5,300,000. Includes known bid prices and contract, provision for contingency and estimate for communications and final furnishing.

Intention is to borrow $5,000,000 on a 20 year bond. Annual debt service payments anticipated to be approximately $350,000.

 

PROJECTED TAX IMPACT

No net impact to property taxes anticipated. In fiscal year 2020 (the year after the one we are considering at Town Meeting this evening), debt service without the Police Department is expected to peak at around $1,683,000, then gradually decreasing to FY 2016 to $1,245,102.

The plan for payment for the Police Station set a cap of total debt service at $1,600,000 and projects using various sources to cover the debt service payments from now until FY 2026 when payments can be made within the current level of spending.

 

HOW

Savings from utility expenses based on solar credits received from landfill solar project. Total savings from solar credits is expected to be over $200,000 annually. This plan applies half of that savings to the debt service (funds already within the budget will move from electricity budget lines to debt service budget line.) Additionally, a reasonable amount of free cash will be used annually to make up the different. Between FY 2021 and FY 2025 the use of free cash for this purpose ranges from $117,000 down to $78,000. In FY 2020, a larger amount of free cash will be needed $330,556. We propose raising a good portion of that this year (Article 25). Lastly, for the upcoming year, we also are proposing to use $239,163.62 which represents proceeds from prior tax sales that can only be expended by vote of Town Meeting for capital projects (Article 26.) This is a one time opportunity.

This plan does not anticipate further drawdowns of the stabilization fund, currently with a balance of approximately $1.3 million. Retaining these funds helps the Town maintain its high bond rating and also gives us flexibility for future payments if any of the assumptions made in the plan above are not feasible in a future year.

 

UPDATE #1

Thank you for supporting this project at Town Meeting. All related articles for borrowing, use of available funds and acceptance of land donation were all approved May 15, 2018.