City Council maintains partial funding for new police station

Jul 25, 2017

Homer's current police station.
Credit Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The Homer City Council is still trying to make progress towards building a new police station, but critical factors such as location and funding remain sticking points.

The council voted to dissolve the city’s $2.4 million permanent fund in June to fund part of a new police station and pay off a long-term loan on the Homer Public Library building. But, council members were under the impression the fund, which is invested in bonds and the stock market, had only grown about 1 percent.

City Manager Katie Koester told council members last month that the fund had actually grown nearly $370,000. The council reevaluated its decision to dissolve the fund based on that information Monday.

Council member Heath Smith has cautioned against a kneejerk reaction and noted that putting the money towards the new police station will be a sign of progress.

“The only complication I see in repealing this is that we have to readdress the permanent fund again when it comes time to spend money, and I think we need to show the public that we’re serious about building it and we’re going to put some money aside,” Smith said.

The move to repeal the ordinance was unanimously voted down. Council member Donna Aderhold also introduced a resolution to contract Stantec Architecture, who has been working with the city on the project for about three years, to provide three preliminary designs.

The Police Station Building Task Force recommended building a new facility on the corner of Heath Street and Grubstake Avenue. The task force provided the council with a $6 million and $9 million option. Aderhold’s resolution calls for Stantec to draw up designs for both options and to add a design proposal to expand the HERC building while still allowing community access to the gym.

However, the council wanted more time to evaluate the resolution.

“I think we all agree that the police station building is probably one of our most important things we need to deal with, and we need to spend some time gaining some agreement on how we move forward,” Aderhold said.

Council members unanimously decided to postpone voting on the resolution and plan to hold a work session on Aug. 14.