Saturday, February 4, 2017
[Siskiyou County] Back to the drawing board: Yreka council takes on YPD move again
Blog note: this article references a grand jury report on the subject.
On Thursday, the Yreka City Council will once again take on the task of trying to get the Yreka Police Department into a new building, following last year's failed attempt to secure bids within the construction budget.
The city has been searching for a replacement of the current police department building - a former library building that is over 100 years old.
According to documents with the Thursday meeting agenda, discussion of finding a new building was prompted in part by a 2005 Siskiyou County Grand Jury Report that suggested that the building was no longer adequate for YPD's needs.
The Grand Jury that generated the report noted at the time that the list of issues included no wheelchair accessible ramps, too few electrical outlets for modern equipment needs and a lack of adequate space for the number of personnel.
Also listed in the report was the fact that one portion of the building was built on top of an old fuel tank, and that the entire electrical system was outdated.
The city ultimately decided to seek other sites for the police station, settling on a building on Fairlane Road that was purchased in May of 2014 for approximately $800,000.
According to the agenda documents, the city then contracted with the architectural firm Calpo, Hom and Dong to develop a construction plan to turn the building - which had been built as a commercial structure with multiple rental units - into a police station.
The Siskiyou Daily News reported in 2015 that the retrofit was planned to have various upgrades over the current building, from a covered parking area to increase response times during cold winter weather to a dedicated sexual assault response room, among other changes.
In addition, unavoidable costs are a part of the project, including the need to make the building able to withstand disasters to ensure continuity of policing services - a need that dictates which materials can be used for the project.
The city had $1.3 million available for construction of the building at the time the project went out to bid, and another $1.4 million for the costs associated with moving YPD's equipment, purchasing new furnishings and assorted administrative costs.
In April of 2016, the council voted to reject all bids received on the project due to the fact that the lowest bid was still nearly $1 million over the allotted funds for construction.
The bids ranged from $2,215,150 to $2,503,870, and came from construction firms from locations as close as Mount Shasta and as far away as Loomis, California.
Agenda documents note that city staff have been working since the bids were rejected to identify potential modifications to the project to reduce costs and identify possible financing options that the city could afford.
A revised cost estimate of $2,650,000, plus funds to cover construction contingencies, was reached, and city staff identified a United States Department of Agriculture public facilities loan for which a pre-application has been submitted.
Agenda documents contain a table showing the costs to the city for a 40 year USDA loan for $3 million. It estimates that the city would have to pay anywhere from $130,000 to $160,000 per year for the life of the loan, for a total of $5,906,000 for the loan principal plus interest.
The council will discuss its options at its Thursday meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Yreka City Council Chambers at 701 Fourth Street in Yreka.
February 1, 2017
By David Smith