Split Osseo council targets grant money for new police building

BY ALICIA MILLER

alicia.miller@ecm-inc.com

The Osseo City Council voted 3-2 to take the first steps at obtaining some grant money to help with the construction of a future police building, at its meeting Monday, June 25.

A separate story on other council actions will appear in next week’s paper.

City administrator Douglas Reeder said the city recently became aware that the Department of Employment and Economic Development was given money by the State Legislature prior to adjournment to use to for public works projects.

"I think the idea is to spur employment," he said.

Reeder added that there was a grant process available to the city to help build a new police department building.

The city has been looking at replacing the building for the past two years. The estimated cost for a new building would be $1.5 million.

The replacement of the building meets the criteria for the grant money. The grant would be for one half of the total project cost and must be at least a $1 million project.

The proposed new police building design was prepared in 2010. The new building would be located just north of the current police building in the parking lot. The shared parking lot with City Hall would be reconfigured, but would allow for the same amount of parking stalls.

To be eligible for the grant, the council must adopt a resolution giving the authority to submit the grant.

Another condition of the grant is that the city must fund at least half of the project with non state money if the grant is awarded and accepted. If the city receives the grant it would be responsible for $750,000 of the project costs. Reeder said then the city could pay for its portion through bonds by the Economic Development Authority, existing fund balances within the city funds or future taxes.

At the June 19 Public Safety Advisory Committee, it approved 6 to 0 the grant application. Mayor Al Lindquist and Councilor Rick Weber are on the committee.

Councilor Weber said, "This would be a great for the city of Osseo based on a couple of reasons. The Capital Improvement Plan, the Financial Management Plan all echoes this procedure. And if we can come up with any money from this, this would be just a feather in our hat."

Councilor Mark Schulz added, "It also makes me a lot more comfortable with the results of the city survey. Basically, the residents in large majority stated that to continue our existing services would be a high priority for them. Very clearly when it was asked would they do that realizing that we needed to provide a police building, the overwhelming majority there was in the affirmative."

The council voted 3-2 to approve a resolution supporting a business development capital projects grant program that would be used towards a new police building; Mayor Lindquist and Councilor Allan Hartkopf voted against.

Mayor Lindquist was asked after the council meeting why he voted for the grant application during the Public Safety Advisory Committee meeting, but then against the application during the council meeting.

"I was in Duluth last week at the League of Minnesota Cities convention and we were told there was not a lot of money available for the grant through the state program," Lindquist said. "There is nothing wrong with the city applying for the grant, but I feel it’s beyond reasonable reach."

He added, "There is no doubt that the city needs a new police station, just not now with this grant program."

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