May 2019 Bond Election
On February 19, 2019 the Moscow City Council approved Ordinance 2019-01. This ordinance is required by law for the City to hold a General Obligation Bond Election. The bond election is being held to ask citizens to approve or deny the City’s taking on debt to fund a new police station facility and to re-purpose the current station and Paul Mann Building.
Prior to 1968, the current Moscow Police station, located on Fourth Street, was home to a creamery called “Korter’s Pasteurized Milk.” After use as a creamery under William and Julia Korter’s ownership, the building was occupied by other businesses, including J&J Glass, until the City purchased the property from the Korters on May 15, 1968. At that time, it became City Hall and the Police Department.
In the later 1970’s, the City purchased the current City Hall from the Federal Government and later, the former Job Service Building from the State of Idaho, renamed the Paul Mann Building in honor of former Moscow Mayor and University of Idaho professor Paul Mann. As renovations were made, City Hall has become home to the City Council Chambers, Mayor’s office, Administration, Finance, Arts, and Legal Departments, and the Third Street Art Gallery.
The Community Development and Engineering Departments moved to the Paul Mann Building and the Police Department remained in the Fourth Street building.
Issues & Challenges
The Fourth Street building has been remodeled many times to accommodate the services and staff required to meet the community’s need for a modern and effective Police facility. At 9,600 square feet, the facility is too small to accommodate the space needs of the Moscow Police Department. With the installation of the US95 couplet system (Jackson Street one-way southbound and Washington Street one-way northbound) and the creation of Friendship Square, the current Police Department is located on a dead-end street and accessible only by one-way streets or narrow alleys. This has resulted in significant challenges of accessibility and emergency response.
A comprehensive assessment of the current Fourth Street facility was conducted in the City’s Facilities Planning process in 2015. When presented with the results, the Moscow City Council prioritized the Police facility as a major challenge area in the City’s Strategic Plan.
The City has researched several options over the past three years to address the Police facility and related space needs. The most feasible and cost effective option has been determined to be the construction of a new Police facility, and repair and renovation of existing facilities.
The City-owned Moscow Recycling Center site was initially considered as the location for the new facility; however, the results of a survey showed that Moscow’s citizens preferred keeping the Recycling Center in its current location.
Other options that were considered included purchasing and remodeling existing facilities. One such facility was the Federal Building (currently owned by Gritman Medical Center); however, the project was found to be cost prohibitive.
Other sites in Moscow were considered, but availability and suitability were found to be in short supply.
The Proposed Project
The proposed project includes the construction of a new police facility to be constructed on the property north of Papé Machinery and west of the Grove Apartments at the intersection of Southview Avenue and South Main Street. Access to and from the site provides for good emergency response for all of Moscow, including the University of Idaho campus. The facility would be constructed to meet the needs of a modern police facility now and for many years into the future.
Once the new facility is completed, the current Fourth Street building will be remodeled and repurposed for both the Community Development and Engineering Departments, which would move from the Paul Mann Building. Once the Paul Mann building is vacated and needed repairs are made, that building would be used by the Information Systems Department, currently housed in the administration offices at the Eggan Youth Center. The remodeled Paul Mann building would also provide for safe and secure storage of public records, which are currently housed in the City Hall basement, which is over capacity and is susceptible to flooding. The bond project will provide a modern and efficient police services facility and address office space needs for other City Departments.
The cost for this project (including associated bond fees) totals $9,640,000. As a result of the City’s excellent financial standing and AA- bond rating, the projected interest rate the City would receive for a 10-year bond is 2.21%. A 10-year term was chosen by the City Council as it provides an interest savings of more than $2,200,000 to the taxpayers when compared to a 20-year term.
The proposed 10-year bond would have an annual cost to the taxpayer of $85 per year, per $100,000 of taxable valuation. For example, a home with an assessed valuation of $250,000 (with a $150,000 taxable value after the $100,000 Idaho State homeowner’s exemption) would see an annual property tax increase of $127.50 per year over the 10 year bond period.
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The City has held voter-approved bonds in the past, most recently for construction of the Hamilton-Lowe Aquatic Center and Fire Station #3. These bonds have all been paid on time and in full, and at this time the City has no outstanding general obligation bonds.
The City is happy to provide information on the details of the projects, bond information and more. Additional information has been posted on the City’s website and at City facilities. The City is happy to visit with or provide a presentation to any groups interested. Tours of the current police facility are available as well.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact the City of Moscow Administration Department directly at 208-883-7080.