McMinnville officials are down to the financial wire when it comes to finding a permanent home for McMinnville Police Department. What was a temporary fix in 2009 will soon cost $68,454 a year.
In 2009, the city entered a lease agreement with Red Road Business Park to provide 11,409 square feet to house the police department. Rent was free the first 13 months, was $1,000 a month for the second year, $1,500 a month for the third year, $2,000 a month for the fourth year, and $5,704.50 a month for the fifth year.
Considered a temporary fix at the time, officials wanted to relocate the department from the Blue Building and house it on Red Road until a permanent home could be found. Several properties were considered, but no decision was made.
Per the lease agreement, rent will almost triple in September 2013 from the $2,000 a month the department is currently paying.
“That’s a strong penalty for not making a decision,” said city administrator David Rutherford of the rent increase. “We had a four-year window at a very low rate to make a decision and we haven’t, as a board, made a decision.”
Rutherford says the department is paying about $40,000 in annual utilities, which would amount to what the city would be looking at in annual debt service payments for a more energy-efficient building.
“If you combine the cost of utilities with the rent, the city will be paying approximately $100,000 a year,” Rutherford said. “You are very quickly getting to the point where the money you are paying out could actually pay debt service.”
Options considered by the old board included the purchase of existing buildings that needed renovation, and building a new facility.
If the city decides to build new, it will feel the financial sting of procrastination, says Rutherford.
“If the decision is to build, acquisition of land will take six months or more. Then, you will be looking at nine to 12 months for construction. That’s 18 months from now, so you will be well into the new rent phase.”
The information was presented to Finance Committee members during their last meeting. Safety Committee members will be meeting on Jan. 8 at 6:10 p.m. to continue the discussion on re-locating the department.