On Monday, March 3 voters will have a say in how the city spends a large sum of money. The city is proposing to spend $35 million dollars to build a public safety complex. This money will come from a bond to be paid for by raising your property taxes.
The proposed public safety complex will house the police department, fire department administration, fire station #2, dispatch, emergency operations center and municipal court. They propose to put this complex somewhere on East 2nd street.
No property has been purchased or design work done to establish a firm cost for the project. The $35 million dollars is just a guess. You need to remember the Aquatic Center and the Convention Center both ran over the city’s projected costs by several million dollars. The city also recently spent 20 million dollars on a new water meter system.
We have lost assets and revenue because of the city policy of deferred maintenance. In short this means they do not repair and maintain their buildings. We have lost the swimming pool in Cahoon Park and the Yucca Recreation Center and untold revenue on the airport buildings. They now claim it will take millions of dollars to repair the police station. The mayor in his presentation about the proposed public safety complex said the city doesn’t have the money to repair and maintain their buildings.
The city has several quality of life issues they also need to address. Roads, water system and sidewalks are all in terrible condition. We have a very high crime rate and other problems that should be the first priorities.
The mayor also stated that none of the $35 million would go toward hiring more first responders.
I think the city should rethink their approach. Put a fire station on the east side, consolidate with the county on dispatch and emergency operations center and repair the police station in stages.
It’s time to focus on quality of life issues for the citizens of Roswell.