KAYSVILLE -- Design changes to a proposed $4.5 million Kaysville police station for which voters rejected financing in 2010, has residents concerned that new life is being breathed back into the project.
Kaysville City Council recently approved a $5,150 contract amendment with JRCA Architects to make changes to the design of a proposed 20,000-square-foot police station.
The design changes and subsequent contract expenditure came after new Kaysville Police Chief Sol Oberg gave the architectural firm his input on the station design -- tweaks to more appropriately conform to the needs and future vision of the police department as the city reaches build-out.
In November 2010, Kaysville voters rejected a $4.5 million bond that would have been used to build the station at Main Street and 100 North. The Kaysville police patrol division is currently working out of a construction trailer because of space constraints.
The $5,150 contract expenditure, approved July 2 by the city council, followed Oberg's critiquing the plans and recommending minor alterations to them, Kaysville Mayor Steve Hiatt said.
The expenditure for the design change was part of a finance claim that is part of regular council meetings, Hiatt said, with the contract with the architectural firm posted on the city's website.
The need for a new police station is still very clear, Hiatt said, and staff wants to be prepared with a design when that time comes. But there has been no council discussion about when a new station might proceed, and there is no time frame when such a project would be reconsidered.
The funds used to make the alterations to the station design were use-it or lose-it police impact fees needing to be expended within a certain time period, Hiatt said. These impact fees are restricted to either design or build a new police station and cannot be used for any other purpose, he said.
Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government member Orwin Draney said that in discovering the design amendment, he couldn't help but reflect on the council indicating to him on five different occasions in public meetings how they were not pursuing building a police station, despite a land sale that will bring the city about $5.3 million in revenues.
"If they are not planning on doing anything with (the station)," Draney said, "why are they expending the funds on it."
The last time funds were spent on the design was in 2011, shortly after the bond for the project had been defeated by voters.
"They have let two years go by and have done nothing with the plans," Draney said. "Things just don't look right. Maybe the city council members are not aware of what city administrators are doing."
Raising the issue now has nothing to do with the Aug. 13 municipal primary, Draney said, but he admits the issue could affect the Nov. 5 municipal election.
"It really confuses me," Draney said. Council members maintain a new police station is not in the plans, then a month later they make changes to the blueprints, he said.
The action by staff to make the design alterations involved "prudent planning," Hiatt said, rather than staff being concerned with political perception in approving the expenditure so close to the Aug. 13 primary.
"Unfortunately, there are some individuals who look for anything to dream up conspiracy, especially if someone is willing to give them a stage," Hiatt said. "The claims made by some members of this group are nothing short of political nonsense, carefully timed to coincide with an election. It is shameful, and a poor example of good leadership.
"Our dedicated police officers are some of the most professional individuals I know. They act in a prudent and fiscally responsible manner. I will never instruct my staff to give more consideration to political perception than responsible management," he said.
Hiatt said it is not a matter of "if," but "when" the city will need to build a new station.
However, one Kaysville resident isn't buying it.
The council and mayor are not being honest with the public, or they don't know what staff are doing, said Margaret Brough, with Kaysville Citizens for Responsible Government.
"If they don't plan on doing (anything with the station), why are they tweaking (the plans)," said Brough, concerned that city officials may be trying to do an "end run" around the public's 2010 vote.
Hiatt denies such claims, saying many who voted against the proposed police station in 2010 did so based on the funding mechanism to pay for it, and not because the city doesn't have a need for a new station.
The existing police station, built in 1986, was built to serve the city's then nine-member police staff, officials said. The department has grown to 23 officers, with three additional staff, and is expected to reach 42 officers by the time the city hits its projected build-out of 47,000 residents.