Following is the winter newsletter from Lakewood Village President Erin Smith:
From the President
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we want to extend our very best wishes for a joyous holiday season to each of you and your families.
There are a number of issues and projects which merit mention, and these are summarized below:
Several months ago, the Village was approached by a consortium of firms which work to create efficiencies via public – private partnerships. They proposed such a partnership to build a new Village Hall/Police Station. All of the work proposed in the initial phase of evaluation was to be performed at no cost and no risk or obligation to the Village, so we chose to proceed. There were five basic components to this evaluation, including:
Demonstrate Need – While there was anecdotal evidence that a new Village Hall and Police Station is needed, this analysis revealed
- the full extent of non-compliance. Issues range from non-compliance with building codes and the Americans with Disabilities Act;
- no secured or confidential location for information or meetings; and
- a lack of a meeting space for the Board of Trustees.
Most importantly, however, the existing building does not maintain the necessary separation between the two critical government functions – Administration and Police – which creates an unsafe environment for residents and staff. Within the Police Department, there are not separate holding rooms for adults and juveniles; there is no separate waiting area for victims; the evidence room is not compliant; etc.
There is agreement among the Board of Trustees that a new Village Hall/Police Station is needed.
Existing Site – The existing site is simply not large enough to support an expansion of the current facility. This begs the question – what should be done with the existing site? Four possible scenarios have been discussed at a very preliminary level:
- open space;
- two single family lots of approximately ½ acre each;
- a small multi unit condo building; and
- a restaurant.
If the Board of Trustees chooses to move forward, a market analysis or sounding would be conducted by the consortium to help determine the feasibility of each of these uses as well as the highest and best use from a financial perspective.
Simply stated, the current site is too valuable for a municipal building.
Any proceeds from the sale or lease of the land would be used to offset a portion of the costs of a new facility.
New Site– Two sites were evaluated for the new location of a Village Hall/Police Station.
- The first was a privately held parcel off Huntley Road, with the idea of creating a mixed use town center. For a variety of reasons – acquisition costs, site development costs as a result of wetlands, and market forces— this site was taken out of consideration.
- Attention was then directed towards the site on Haligus Road currently owned by the Village (just south of the wastewater treatment plant). Since it is already owned by the Village, there are no acquisition costs. In addition, its topography is conducive to site development and has ample space for the creation of a future gathering place. For these reasons, the Board of Trustees is agreed that Haligus Road is the preferred site for a new Village Hall/Police Station.
New Facility – The architectural firm affiliated with the consortium has a strong background in public safety buildings and, after a series of meetings with staff, the consortium has determined that a Village Hall/Police Station would need to be approximately 9,000 sq feet and have a total cost of approximately $3.7M.
Financing – Given the Village’s AAA bond rating, the consultants estimate that the Village could issue debt certificates at an interest rate of between 2.5% and 3.0%. Debt certificates are different than General Obligation or Alternative Revenue bonds because taxes cannot be levied to pay for them. [Revenue bonds were sold to finance the purchase of the golf club. However, the Board at the time decided to guarantee payment with increased property taxes. That led to approximately a $500 annual surcharge on Lakewood homes for twenty years. The bonds were paid off last year and Lakewood taxes went down a lot this year.]
The Board of Trustees is absolutely committed to insuring that no new taxes will ever be imposed to pay for a new Village Hall/Police Station.
The decision currently before the Board of Trustees is whether to enter into an agreement to spend no less than $30,000 and no more than $50,000 to perform the studies needed to further refine the high level analysis conducted during the first phase. These studies would include such information as a topographical survey for the existing site (no such record currently exists), an environmental assessment of the Haligus Road site, soil borings, etc. All of this data would become the property of the Village of Lakewood. Detailed renderings of the facility would also be completed but would remain the property of the consortium unless the Village chooses to move forward with the project.
Prior to expending any funds, the Board of Trustees has directed the staff to conduct an analysis of existing revenue streams to identify the sources of funding for the annual payment needed to pay for such a facility. This report is expected to be completed after the New Year and will be discussed publicly at an upcoming meeting. Please review the meetings agendas that are posted online prior to a meeting or call Village Hall to determine the timing. As always, we are interested in feedback you have regarding any aspect of this project.