Craig City Council considering new police station

Council to host meeting to mull safety center options

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The Craig City Council discussed Tuesday its next step in negotiations between the city and county concerning the Craig Police Department’s lease of the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

City council member Gene Bilodeau, who serves on the city’s negotiating team, said he thought it would be appropriate for the council to start looking into building a new facility for the police department.

Talks between the city and county have been on hold since mid-January when Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner asked for a “short break,” and said she would contact the city in two months.

“I got to thinking — I am not sure why we need to stall out because they need two months,” Bilodeau said during the council meeting. “One of the things we talked about was perhaps looking at what it would cost if we had to go the direction of building our own (building).

“So, I’m thinking whatever their need is to take some time off, that’s fine. But, in the interim, I don’t think we need to just sit back.”

Bilodeau’s idea to look into the cost of building a new police department building was met with general acceptance from other council members.

City manager Jim Ferree said the council would likely organize a workshop to discuss options in the next few months.

The city and county began discussing last year what the police department should pay in rent at the safety center.

The current agreement, which expires in August, entails the police department receiving free rent at the safety center in exchange for the city previously providing the county with free land to build the facility on.

During initial discussions, the county commission presented possible future lease costs, based on the current operating costs of the building, at $256,591 per year to the city.

However, talks shifted from an annual lease to a one-time purchase price.

The city council rejected the county’s purchase price offer for the space, which totaled $1.083 million.

City council members said they could not afford more than $736,120 for the police department’s 2,258 square feet of exclusive office space and 3,000 square feet of shared space in the center.

Bilodeau said it made sense to discuss all options during the break the county asked for. When the two sides meet again, however, Bilodeau said it would be important for the city to not overpay for either a lease or purchase option.

“Whether it’s to revisit the sale price, or the lease price, I’m not really sure what the county has in mind,” he said Wednesday. “But, I do know that from the city’s perspective, that if the sales price continues to be more than we are willing to pay, and a lease price appears more than we are willing to pay, then we do need to look at what it would cost us to build our own facility.”

Bilodeau said the original voter intent behind the safety center, and the goal of the two negotiating governing bodies, is to have all law enforcement agencies under one roof.

However, the two sides “just have a difference of opinion over what a fair price to pay for that would be,” he said.

“We are well into the safety center for over a million dollars and our concern is, ‘Are we going to continue to use taxpayers’ money for a double purchase?’” he said. “Or a double lease on a space?

“In 10 years from now, if we were to build our own facility, at the end of 10 years the potential is there that we have bought and paid for a facility. Or, we could still be paying rent and not have anything to show for it.”

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray said it would “not be serving the taxpayers best” for the city to build its own police station.

“We need to get to the table and do what is best for all the taxpayers and stay in that spot, get it worked out and get an agreement together that satisfies the long-term intent of the voters,” he said. “What I have heard still is that the citizens think that (law enforcement) needs to be in one spot.”

Danner said she wanted the city to “stay engaged in the joint conversation and come up with more than one idea.”

“And, at this point, I hear one idea and it is to separate,” she said.

Council member Terry Carwile said talks of building a new police station are part of the council “exploring options.”

He thinks that option, to separate the law enforcement agencies, is not “a desirable way to go.”

“I am not looking at it as an option right at this moment, I just haven’t really looked at it in that regard,” he said. “It is a huge swerve away from our objective of keeping everybody in the same facility there. I just don’t want to get into it to that extent just yet.”

Carwile said if he were to consider that as a “viable option, it would almost, by definition, cast a negative light on the discussions.”

“I don’t want to do that,” he said. “I know we seem to be at odds right now, but who is to say what might happen here in the next couple of months?”

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Comments

jeff corriveau 3 years, 9 months ago

The Moffat County Commissioners just continue to show their collective ignorance in this matter! When it comes to understanding and appreciating the needs of this community, and in this issue the needs of the law enforcement community, the commissioners are totally inept. With no appreciation for the struggles it took to get the Public Safety Center on the ballot and built, the two fools and their queen are about to throw destroy one of the best law enforcement facilities in Colorado, if not the US over senseless issues. One has to wonder what Marianna Raftopolous, Jeff Corriveau and the rest of the dedicated people who worked so hard on this might have to say. Probably "shame on you County Commissioners" for being so damn short sighted and selfish!!!!

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

When the city council finds out it will cost many times the cost of purchasing what is now in use, I want to hear the reasons why another building is needed. Erecting a second building to do the same job being done under one roof now is really silly in my opinion.
It is also not just putting the building up but it must also be maintained after that.
All this talk of another jail building is not the smartest talk the city council has done.

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David Moore 3 years, 9 months ago

In my opinion, if we the voters paid to put all law enforcement under one roof in the safety center, then we the voters should decide if they should be split up. My vote would be for the county to take the offer from the city and be done with it. Maybe in the future, the city can help out the county somehow in return...you scratch my back I'll scratch yours. This is OUR building and we want the law all in one place, get it together and quit playing games...take the offer or put it to a vote, bottom line.

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lostyermarbles 3 years, 9 months ago

Selfish for sure?? Have they spent a day in our "wonderful" nursing home facility we have for our poor seniors?? two people per room in VERY small rooms and very old. Take a look, you will be there one day!

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justthefacts 3 years, 9 months ago

Fact: The County just recieved over $900,000.00 in unexpected mineral leases.

Fact: The Commissioners won't share that money with the City.

Fact: The County Commissioners have yet to figure out that the City of Craig is in the County, and city residents are also county residents.

"You leave our money alone or else I will tell mom" Hey wait, Mom is us; the residents of Craig and Moffat County. Bad Commissioners !!!go to bed witout your dinner and write 100 times: Craig is in the County, Craig is in the County, 98 more times now!!! Maybe you will learn to share with your siblings!!!

Just The stingy Facts

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Tammy Showalter 3 years, 9 months ago

I can just see what is coming...the economy is in the toilet, but lets tax these poor Craig fools some more and get us a new police station....It is SOO easy to spend money that doesn't belong to you. I for one will not give my vote to a single current city counselor. Maybe they should move back to the north side of 1st street and back to city hall.

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George Robertson 3 years, 9 months ago

What a bunch of spoiled brats! The whole point to the safety center was to SAVE money by housing all of the functions under ONE roof. I agree with DavidMoore, the county should take the offer from the city and be done with it!

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bunkhousebarbie 3 years, 9 months ago

Negotiate. Be fair. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face. Consider where the money comes from (is there more where that came from - methinks probably not as the taxpayers are tapped out). Share.

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kp81625 3 years, 9 months ago

As a taxpayer, if it comes down to a vote, I will vote no on this every time for the City and the County to split. Work together people to come up with a solution that works for every one. We've already built the facility for both of you and I will not vote to spend the money again for you to split.

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jeff corriveau 3 years, 9 months ago

All of these comments seem to be spot on. So here's an idea: If the commissioners DONT knock this off and get the deal done, let's do what voters and taxpayers do when their elected officials don't listen to them: Start a recall petition and get the morons out of there!!!

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justthefacts 3 years, 9 months ago

Fact: The County wants over $1,000,000.00 to buy , or rent of over $40 per square foot per year, for 2500 sq ft of space.

Fact: The old Greely Gas building, ( Remax) can be bought for $350.000.00. Commerical rent in Craig is under $8.00 per square ft.

Fact: Anything is this town can be bought for far less than a million dollars. ( Is the mall for sale? A police department with a dollar store,a mexican restaurant and a radio station. Car 54 where are you??? Community policing at it's finest! There is even room for a doughnut shop!!!

Fact: The City has the money to purchase or build!!!

Fact: The city council can save taxpayers ( US) money by going somewhere else rather than being ripped off by the County Commissioners.

Fact: You go City Council and Police Department. ( Somewhere else that is!!)

Just The someone is moving Facts

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Colette Erickson 3 years, 9 months ago

Heh, the old Greeley Gas building or the mall might not be a bad idea! County - grow up. You all have to stand for election again, and your current actions (not to mention most of them....) are less than impressive.

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Jon Pfeifer 3 years, 9 months ago

I think everyone realizes that law enforcement needs to be in one building. The city's plan is to organize a "workshop" to discuss building a separate police station. This is called posturing. It is not really an option they are exploring right now. The way you really figure out what a new police station would cost is by hiring a general contractor to draw up plans consistent with the needs of the police department. In my mind, the city isn't really exploring this option at all yet. Just posturing.

It seems like everyone here seems to believe the commissioners are at fault here. This article doesn't have enough information for me to decide. In order to make up my mind, I would need to know: 1. What was the original bill for building the public safety center. 2. How much would it cost to build a separate police station with similar accommodations. 3. What are the annual operating costs that the city would pay anyways if they buy.

I do have enough information to make up my mind about one thing. The city is being entirely unreasonable to say "we're paying for it again." This is not a "double purchase." The city agreed to pay rent. Rent is wasted money. It doesn't count against a future purchase. Everyone knows this. If you want it to count against a future purchase, you negotiate a "rent to own" or "lease with an option to purchase" deal. That's not what the city bargained for initially. The city wants special rules to apply to it because... well... I don't know why. Because they are a governmental entity? Huh. Had they been renting a private building and said, "oh, all that money we paid in rent should count towards a purchase now" the private owner would still be laughing.

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

Having a building is not the entire issue. The building must have security for those inside, prisoners and employees alike. A building used as a jail must have cells, and the capability to feed and care for prisoners. A building for this use will also need the means for communication with all other forms of law enforcement, and all other forms of emergency service in the area. What about the old city jail in the city hall building? That served as a jail for many years.

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xrsareus 3 years, 9 months ago

Hayden built a new police station in 2009, 2.3 million. They are alot smaller police dept. than in Craig. If like normal city functions they will spend $200,000.00 or more just on consultants and arcitects. Stop the insanity!!!

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree with xrsareus about the cost of merely planning such a building. The city will need to hire a consultant just to decide what flavor of donuts to serve at the meetings.
Paying a one time $1,000,000.00 fee to stay in the building that was built for this purpose is the smartest option in my opinion. If the city doesn't have the money now, then they should pay it in several installments.

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justthefacts 3 years, 9 months ago

Fact to Als: Police departments do not house prisoners, do not feed prisoners, do not care for prisoners!!!!

Fact: When someone is arrested they are taken to the county jail.

Fact: State statutes require the county to provide a jail, not the local police department.

Fact: Some people need the facts !!!

Just The low down Facts

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kp81625 3 years, 9 months ago

I agree with silentman. If these people can't play nice and share, we should start a petition to recall all of them. What a waste of time and money and effort...all this bickering and "posturing" going on reminds me of when my children were little and wanted the same toy. What a bummer that these two groups can't come to some sort of equitable arrangement and get this done and over with.

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slipknot 3 years, 9 months ago

Moffat County is Moffat County and Craig is right in the middle of it. Some mindsets are hard to change, and some lessons are never learned. Some people have the desire to change/build/move things without having a complete or full understanding of the subject matter. All they understand is the desire to change. When you stop and reconsider the past, the only things that really change are the names and faces.

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MoCo4life 3 years, 9 months ago

I remember a time when the city so financially desperate, the county took over the cemetery and the library AND gave the city a portion of the county's sales tax to help them get on their feet, as well as a few other things. The city has been able to give employees raises every year (including a 5% raise!) and county employees have stayed at the same rate for the past couple of years and the county has sliced and sliced its budget. How is having difficulty negotiating an agreement forgetting that the city is in the county? No one forgets, but the do have two separate revenue sources and legal obligations. Why should we lose county services because the city won't comply with the contract it signed and the county has to pay more than the share the city agreed to when the place was built? When the county has money for better services and employees EVERYONE benefits. When the city does, only city residents benefit. If the city, as Just the Fact says, has the money to purchase or build, then it should use the money to purchase the facility that was built for that purpose. If Hayden built a police station for $2.3 mill, than $1 mill and some change is a deal for the city . And if the city doesn't realize that and wants to build, then they should be booted out in August when the lease is up and they can be homeless until they get their new facility built.

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als362 3 years, 9 months ago

Is this going to have to be voted on or can the city council just decide on their own to waste millions of dollars by building another unneeded structure? With all the buildings that the city and county have erected in the last several years it makes me wonder who or what group is getting the kick back from all of this.

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Tammy Showalter 3 years, 9 months ago

SO they buy the Remax building and pay how much to customize it and so on and so forth. The purchase price is FAR from the bottom dollar. And MoCo4life comment should be put on the front page to refresh a few memories!

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nightwatch 3 years, 9 months ago

I WOULD AGREE TO A NEW POLICE STATION IF THE CITY COUNCIL WOULD AGREE TO REPLACE EACH AND EVERY POLICE OFFICER THAT IS ON THE FORCE AND RUNS THE POLICE STATION,,,,SO THAT THERE IS NO MORE KEN JOHNSONS ON THE FORCE AND MOST OF ALL TO GET RID OF ALL THE CORRUPTION ,,,BUT OF COURSE WE ALL KNOW THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN CRAIG,,,,?????

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