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Police department complex could be sold to finance new Public Safety Facility

POSTED September 10, 2010 10:19 p.m.

Plans to build a new $35 million Public Safety Facility for Turlock’s Police and Fire departments – previously stymied by the state’s May take of redevelopment funding – are back on the Turlock City Council agenda Tuesday, with a new funding mechanism in place.

The two-story, 57,570 square foot development, planned for a 4.6 acre site next to the rebuilt Carnegie Arts Center, is estimated to cost $29.7 million to complete. The City of Turlock has already acquired all of the land needed to construct the facility, save for the site of Pizza Hut.

The project has been on hold since May, as the state’s take of $3.3 million in Turlock Redevelopment Agency funding has limited the city’s ability to bond for additional funding. Without a guaranteed source of revenue to repay the debt, the Turlock Redevelopment Agency’s bonding capacity was in question.

A November ballot initiative would bar future state raids of redevelopment agency funds, while an ongoing court case from the California Redevelopment Association argues the previous raid was unconstitutional and seeks restoration of the funds.

The proposal before the City Council identifies $24 million in funding, including $13 million in new redevelopment agency bonds, $3.2 million of existing redevelopment agency funding, $4 million from Capital Facility Fees, $1.3 million in state Proposition 1B grant funding, and $2.5 million from the sale of the existing police department site on Palm Street.

The funding plan is $5.6 million short of the architect’s cost projections, but city staff believes that the project will come in under estimates. Bids for projects such as the Carnegie Arts Center and the Westside Industrial Specific Plan Infrastructure Project have come in between 27 percent and 34 percent below estimates.

Tuesday’s agenda item does not authorize the $13 million bond issuance; a separate agenda item would be brought forward for council approval at a later date. The bond issuance would fully utilize the redevelopment agency’s bonding capacity, according to Turlock’s financial advisors, meaning that future redevelopment projects could only be funded if actual growth exceeds projected growth within the redevelopment agency’s boundaries.

The council decision would approve advertisement for construction bids, authorize staff to proceed with facilitating a bond issuance, and authorize staff to list the existing police facility for sale. The sale agreement would likely contain a lease back option, allowing the police department to continue occupancy until the Public Safety Facility is completed. Selling the site would affect the plans of the Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission, which has previously expressed interest in repurposing the current police station into a teen center.

In a related agenda item, the Turlock City Council will consider appropriating $10,000 to hire outside accounting assistance to help with the bond issuance.

 

The Turlock City Council is also scheduled to:

·         Authorize the hiring of a part-time office assistant in the Housing Program Services Division. The division has been down an office assistant since June 30, 2009, when the position was eliminated due to budget reductions. Housing Program Services has since received $3.2 million in grant funds and needs an additional employee to assist with the new work. The position would be funded with that new grant money.

·         Submit an application to the California Energy Commission for a 3 percent low interest loan in the amount of $766,164.11, which would be used to install energy-efficient induction lighting in city streetlights. The project would result in a net annual savings of $22,107, due to reduced energy costs. The project would be in addition to an existing grant-funded effort to transition 1,800 streetlights to induction lighting.

·         Approve the City of Turlock’s annual report to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The document, in part, analyzes the city’s progress in meeting objectives laid out in its five-year strategic plan and annual action plan.

·         Convene a meeting of the Public Financing Authority and establish a regular meeting schedule for the authority. The change was spurred by state Senate Bill 99, passed in October 2009, which requires any bond issuance to be approved at an authority regular meeting.

·         Hear a presentation on the activities of the census Complete Count Committee by Barbara Ferry of the Census Bureau.

·         Issue a proclamation recognizing the retirement of Joe Fuentes, a senior maintenance worker for the City of Turlock.

·         Establish liens on 14 properties as payment for the abatement of weeds, obnoxious growth, and other debris on property and abandoned vehicles that are a nuisance to the public. The liens total more than $4,100.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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