Kaysville police in a pinch, hoping voters will OK bond for new station

Oct 26 2010 - 11:04pm

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(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) Police Chief Mike Lee talks with some officers in the patrol division area of the Kaysville Police Department earlier this week. Voters will decide on Tuesday whether to pass a bond for a new building that would house up to 42 officers and their support staff.
(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) Work stations for three Kaysville police officers are crammed together at the Kaysville Police Department on Tuesday.
(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) Shelves in the evidence room in the Kaysville Police Department are filled top to bottom. Since the station was built in 1986, the department has grown from nine to 20 officers.
(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) The Kaysville Police Department building, which was built in 1986 to accommodate nine officers, is too small for a department that now has 20 officers and support staff.
(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) Police Chief Mike Lee talks with some officers in the patrol division area of the Kaysville Police Department earlier this week. Voters will decide on Tuesday whether to pass a bond for a new building that would house up to 42 officers and their support staff.
(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) Work stations for three Kaysville police officers are crammed together at the Kaysville Police Department on Tuesday.
(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) Shelves in the evidence room in the Kaysville Police Department are filled top to bottom. Since the station was built in 1986, the department has grown from nine to 20 officers.
(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) The Kaysville Police Department building, which was built in 1986 to accommodate nine officers, is too small for a department that now has 20 officers and support staff.

KAYSVILLE -- The working quarters at the 5,000-square-foot Kaysville Police Station are tight -- but so is the economy.

That is the quandary Kaysville voters face this Nov. 2 Election Day.

On the ballot is a proposal to bond for up to $4.5 million to build a new 20,000-square-foot police station at Main Street and 100 North to meet the current and build-out needs of the growing city.

The cost to the taxpayer would be, on an average market value home of $258,000, about $33 per year for 21 years, city officials say.

"Two trips to Redbox a month and the gas to get there," Kaysville Councilman Jared R. Taylor said of the $2.75 a month it would cost taxpayers.

Taylor is aware that some critics of the proposed bond have claimed the question on the ballot leaves the bond amount open for interpretation, but he said the language on the ballot is the same language that is required by state law.

Officials with the Utah Taxpayers Association have toured the current Kaysville police station, offering after the tour a "neutral position" on the proposed city bond.

"There is no question that they need a new police station," said Royce Van Tassell, vice president of the association.

The concern of the association is the length of time -- 21 years -- the city is taking in repaying the bonds, Van Tassell said.

"Taxpayers will pay more in interest than they need to," he said.

Mayor Steve Hiatt said he views the conservative tax-watchdog group offering a neutral position as an indication of the city's need for a new station, considering the history of the association has been to oppose most tax increases.

The 21-year payback on the bond, Hiatt said, gives people moving into the city as it grows the opportunity to share in the cost of the new station.

That being said, city officials recognize, based on public hearings held on the issue, that there are residents who oppose the bond because it raises taxes.

"We're sensitive to the current economic situation," Hiatt said.

But city leaders believe the most prudent thing is to build a new station while construction costs and borrowing rates are at an all-time low, he said.

Should the bond vote fail, the Kaysville City Council will be faced with some difficult decisions, said Mike Blackham, city building official.

The current police station, built in 1986, was built to serve the city's then-nine-member police staff, Hiatt said.

The department has since grown to 20 officers, with three additional staff, and will reach 42 officers when the city reaches its projected build-out of 47,000 residents.

"At some point, this has got to be done," Police Chief Mike Lee said of the need for a new station.

Quarters are so tight, suspects awaiting questioning are within an arm's length of the public, and those filing police reports share the same small interviewing space that doubles as a public waiting room.

One of most critical space issues the department is grappling with is its evidence room, Lee said.

The room, filled from top to bottom with stored evidence, including seized drugs, offers no ventilation and prohibits the department from being able to separate blood samples from the rest of the collected evidence, said Police Capt. Brent Ward.

"It's nice to be conservative, conscientious of the taxpayer dollars," City Finance Director Dean Storey said of Kaysville, which has the 12th-lowest tax rate of the 15 Davis cities.

But as conservative as Kaysville is, Storey said, the timing is right for this project.

Blackham said, should voters approve Tuesday's bond, the project could be bid by January, with construction under way by spring. He said construction would take about one year.

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