Sandown voters to have say on police station
SANDOWN - Voters will have the option of placing more money into a fund for a new police station or going ahead with a $945,000 plan to build the facility this year.
The two options will be among the proposals up for debate at Saturday's annual town deliberative session - the only chance voters will have to discuss and amend warrant articles before casting their final votes on March 12.
The session begins at 8 a.m. at the Town Hall.
Proposals to build a new station have been rejected in past years, so the town began saving up for a new building in 2009 when voters put $176,000 in a reserve fund for future construction of a station.
This year, one article asks voters to add $200,000 to the fund, but another one gives them the option of using the $540,500 in the fund and raising another $404,500 in taxes to begin building the station in April.
"I think it's well received by the people. Everyone understands that it's time, it's just a matter of economics," Police Chief Joseph Gordon said.
Gordon said the department has outgrown the 1,200-square-foot station attached to the town's fire department.
The station has inadequacies in every room, including only one bathroom and locker room for men and women, and no space for training, Gordon said. The building also lacks proper space to provide juvenile confidentiality and has no more room to store evidence.
"The room is just full right to the door and the ceiling with evidence," he said.
The new station would be a single-level ranch-style building with 2,400 square feet of space for offices, training and other uses. The building would also have a basement for storage and a garage area for parking police vehicles.
The station would be built on about five acres of town-owned land on Main Street across from Deer Run Road.
Gordon said "Plan A" is to seek the $200,000 for the reserve fund and stick to a five-year plan of setting money aside each year in hopes of having the bulk of the funding in place so voters in 2014 will approve the proposal and begin construction.
However, Gordon said he wants voters to have the choice of approving the plan this year as well since construction costs continue to climb each year. If the town waits to approve the plan next year, he said the cost will likely be over $1 million.
Voters on Saturday will also discuss the town's proposed $3,417,185 operating budget. If rejected, the town would operate with a default budget of $3,372,820.
Other big ticket items on the warrant include adding $366,565 to a road improvement capital reserve fund and another $100,000 to a fund for future firefighting equipment and vehicle purchases.