Police station bond will remain off November ballot
It’s official: there will not be a police station bond on the ballot this November.
The police facility ad hoc committee, which for months has debated and crafted a ballot proposal for a new Claremont police station, tabled the $25 million bond for next year, citing a need to educate the public and a desire not to rush another measure onto an already crowded ballot.
The 15-member committee nearly unanimously voted for pushing the ballot measure to a later date. The lone vote to move forward came from Jess Swick, who felt confident a committee report could be crafted and brought before the city council before its August recess.
Committee member Frank Bedoya cited a crowded ballot as one of the reasons to push the bond, while Helaine Goldwater said the city needs more time to properly educate the public on the measure.
Carolyn Gonzales noted that if the bond were rushed to November, “we very well might have the same result” as Measure PS last year, which failed by an overwhelming majority.
“We are doing our job, because we are taking a very sensible approach to give it the best chance possible to pass,” she said.
Mr. Bedoya made a motion to refrain from putting the bond on the November ballot and to take time to finalize the report and present it to the city council for approval, which was seconded by Betty Crocker.
“It’s been 14 years. There’s no reason to rush to November,” Mr. Bedoya said.
Throughout the first half of the year, the committee made strides toward creating a bond measure and new plan they hoped would be approved by Claremont voters. The cost of the measure has effectively been cut in half—it is slated to be a $25 million general obligation bond, with an undetermined contribution from the Colleges and potential use of the city’s general funds. The new plan keeps the station at its current location and eliminates a lot of the bells and whistles that turned off voters last time.
By contrast, Measure PS featured an up-to $50 million parcel tax to build on a lot north of the city yard on Monte Vista Avenue with a $1 million contribution from the Colleges.
Steve Wiley and Jeff Templeman of WMM Associates, the architectural firm tasked with creating plans for the station that fit the committee’s guidelines, presented the clearest vision thus far of a possible police station. The schematic outlines where the new building will go and reveals plans for a phased construction.
The new two-story station would be built on the west side of the lot with minimal disruption of day-to-day operations at the current station. When the new building is completed, the old station will be demolished to make room for parking, 100 spaces in total.
The new station is slated to be 23,000 to 28,500 square feet—a reduction of up to 16,445 square feet from the 2014 plan—with 19,000 square feet on the first floor and 6,000 square feet on the second floor. It will house a 3,734-square-foot jail (reduced by 822 square feet from the 2014 plan), a 1,300 square foot multi-purpose room (reduced by 655 square feet) and a 716 square-foot fitness area (reduced by 591 square feet), according to the city report.
A budget breakdown was also presented to the committee, offering a glimpse into the nuts and bolts of the costs that go into the station. Of the total estimated project cost of $23,365,500, nearly $12 million will go toward building costs (at $475 per square foot), $1,508,000 toward architectural and engineering fees and $1,500,000 toward radio equipment.
The breakdown also includes about $1.6 million in a two-year cost escalation at five percent each year and a 10 percent contingency.
The committee also received information about LEED certification of the new building, a designation Mr. Wiley said would be difficult for a facility like a police station or a hospital to receive. The committee agreed to move away from achieving a gold LEED certification.
College contributions was once again deferred, due to committee member and Claremont University Consortium CEO Stig Lanesskog absence from the meeting. Currently, the Colleges contribution is one of the only aspects of the plan that is still undetermined, a notion that frustrated committee member Hal Hargrave.
“Here we are again at another meeting where [Colleges contribution] will not be a topic,” Mr. Hargrave said. “It was the first topic I brought up and the first agenda point I brought up at the first meeting.”
City Manager Tony Ramos noted that he had started dialog with Mr. Lanesskog about a contribution, but noted the CUC CEO is “non-committal” due to new College presidents arriving and a desire to get them up to speed with the topic. He pledged to meet again with Mr. Lanesskog to go over additional figures when he returns to town.
The next committee meeting will be on July 20 in the Padua Room at the Hughes Center.