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Kintigh pitches new public safety complex

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Dennis Kintigh, mayor of Roswell, speaks and gives a slideshow Dec. 18 at a meeting of the Chaves County Federated Republican Women at the Elks Lodge. Kintigh spoke in favor of a general obligation bond issue that will appear on ballots in March’s city elections to build a new $35 million public safety complex. (Alex Ross Photo)

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Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh voiced his support Wednesday for a general obligation bond issue that if passed will raise property taxes to cover the cost of a proposed public safety complex.

Kintigh spoke about the bond issue at December’s meeting of the Chaves County Federated Republican Women, accompanied by a slide show on the bond issue.

The complex would house the Roswell Police Department, Roswell Fire Station 2, Roswell Fire Department Administration, Roswell Municipal Court and Roswell Emergency operations under one roof.

“Basic point is, this is a complex where we will consolidate everything,” he said. “Everybody is there in one location.”

The $35 million price tag is based on what the city of Artesia paid to construct a similar public safety complex in 2013, when adjusted for inflation, Kintigh said. The money would be used for property purchase, architecture, engineering, equipment and construction.

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If approved by voters in the March 3 municipal elections, the bond issue would mean a 3.53 mill levy increase over the city’s current debt services tax rate of .55. Property owners of a home with a full value of $100,000 would pay an additional $118 per year in taxes, according to Kintigh.

Information provided at the meeting by Kintigh also showed the owner of a home valued at $150,000 would have to pay an additional $176 each year. An owner of a home valued at $200,000 would have to pay $235 more in taxes. The owner of a home valued at $500,000 would have to pay another $588 in property taxes.

The 3.53 mill would then start to drop off after two years, and the bonds would be paid off over an 18-year period, Kintigh said.

He conceded a new complex will require sacrifice on the part of taxpayers.

“This will cost us money, this is money that will come out of our pockets, my pocket included, “ Kintigh said.

However, he said having the city’s police and first responders in one location will allow them to better service the community. Kintigh, himself a former law enforcement officer, added that police and first responders deserve a modern facility.

“When there is a bad thing going down in your household, they (first responders) come when you call. And I hope this community is willing to reward that kind of professional dedication and sacrifice we see every day,” he said.

Even if voters opt not to approve the bond issue, Kintigh explained many of the buildings the city’s police and first responders occupy are in dire need of renovations. He said it would cost an estimated $18 million in deferred maintenance to address those building needs. Renovations to the Police Department at 128 West Second Street alone would cost $7.8 million, Kintigh said.

Kintigh said the city does not yet know where specifically the complex would be built, but said they are looking at East Second Street, east of the railroad tracks.

He said the area is a rough part of town. He said having a modern facility with the city’s public safety departments could change the image of the neighborhood.

The area has also never had a fire station, something that Kintigh said has increased response times and can drive up the cost of fire insurance citywide.

Kintigh said some of the current properties occupied by first responders who would be in new facility would be sold — such as the police department. Others, like the Roswell Municipal Court located at 420 North Richardson Ave., would be re-purposed for other uses by the city.

If voters approve the bond issue, Kintigh said he hopes the city will be able to go out with a request for proposal for architecture and engineering work to begin on the new facility. He estimates it will take three years to get the safety complex built and open for use.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

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