Local Politics

New financing proposed for Raleigh safety center

Posted April 2, 2010

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— Raleigh City Manager Rusell Allen has proposed a new financing strategy that he hopes will revive plans for a $205 million public safety center in downtown.

A tie vote by the Raleigh City Council on March 2 stopped plans for the Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center, amid concerns about financing and design.

Allen's new financing plan, which he will propose to the City Council next week, eschews earlier plans for a one-cent property tax raise. It keeps the proposed design for the 16-story, 300,000-square-foot building that would house the city's fire and police departments, 911 operations center and other emergency service.

Under the new proposal, the city would issue $200 million in bonds over the next two years. If the city applies for bonds under a federal stimulus program, the debt the city would take on would be even lower, according to Allen's proposal.

A plan to consolidate public works facilities and move maintenance and solid waste crews from a Peace Street facility would be dropped.

The plan would leave a gap in the city's budget, beginning at $2 million in fiscal year 2011-12 and growing to $4 million in fiscal year 2013-14, according to Allen's memorandum.

On March 2, Mayor Charles Meeker and council members Mary-Ann Baldwin, Nancy McFarlane and James West voted in support of the original financing plan for the center. Council members Thomas Crowder, Bonner Gaylord, John Odom and Russ Stephenson voted against it.

Crowder then urged the council to come up with a construction plan that didn't raise taxes and focused more on borrowing.

Other council members, including Gaylord and Stephenson, cited design issues, including unneeded amenities and safety concerns.

Meeker and Allen have pushed to move forward with construction, which was delayed last year due to budget concerns. They have that further delaying the project would cost the city if interest rates and labor and materials costs increase as the economy rebounds.

33 Comments

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  • spot183 Apr 2, 2010

    none of this matters when me and my friends cant get a job, b/c we cant buy social security cards, regardless...im upset still about the negative effects slavery and jim crow, sterotypes, currupt police officials and rock and a hard places situations, reagonmics, trickle down effect, bushims, strom thurman, and rush limbaugh type attitudes in mangerial positions have on men that want to just live peacfully and lucrativly

  • voip Apr 2, 2010

    Like others have said, this will increase the efficiency of the emergency response groups (by colocating them). The financing for this project seems reasonable. My vote is for this to move forward.

  • rallytowne2 Apr 2, 2010

    "With everything under one roof, it only takes one big bomb to destroy all of the emergency response in Raleigh."

    The emergency response wouldn't skip a beat. Our city is protected by the numerous men and women that represent Fire,Ems, & Police that pound the pavement 24/7/365. Their office is your house, car, job...When was the last time you thanked a public servant?

  • redwolfone Apr 2, 2010

    The local and state governments need to live within their budgets. We are getting taxed to death!(Yes this will be paid for by the tax payers) This is an example of what starts to happen when 33% of working people work for the government in some regard.

    Out of touch, voting themselves money, and putting the burdon on the rest of us. Many more years of this and the U.S.A will be a third world country.....flat out broke!

  • BigUNCFan Apr 2, 2010

    We really don't need something like this now. We should learn to make due with what we have in these tough times. No to this boondoggle.

  • anonemoose Apr 2, 2010

    Many counties are now combining with VFD's when one or the other needs to build to partner and put both in the same building.

    CORRECTION:

    Many counties are now combining with their EMS bases with VFD's when one or the other needs to build to partner and put both in the same building. It saves money during the building process, saves money on maintenance, and saves money on day to day operations.

  • anonemoose Apr 2, 2010

    Okay, everybody that has their bedroom and bathroom in a separate building, the kitchen in another, and the living room in a third please raise your hand.

    All emergency services are more linked than ever before. Having then together will actually improve services in general, and especially during incidents. The EOC will be used much more since all will already be together, and will streamline the incident command structure.
    I'm sure that the EOC, and Comm center will be hardened and I believe they said underground. It is cheaper to build and more efficient to operate with all services centralized. Many counties are now combining with VFD's when one or the other needs to build to partner and put both in the same building.

    I'm glad to see that Raleigh has some many well trained public safety professionals.

  • hardwork919 Apr 2, 2010

    "With everything under one roof, it only takes one big bomb to destroy all of the emergency response in Raleigh." TarheelsDontLikeEdwards

    That's my thinking. But what's currently in place isn't good enough. I wish there was more info on what's going to be included. Is this a building full of extras and frills that are going to waste money or are they necessary?

  • working for deadbeats Apr 2, 2010

    "Build the building but change or just eliminate the name. Clarence Lightner never did anything for public safety." dono422

    Nope, he has a bunch of criminals around his dinner table. It's actually a disgrace to name the building after him.

  • mtnmama Apr 2, 2010

    I don't think it is wise to house all these services under one roof. Sorta like the entire upper management of a corporation traveling on the same plane. The plane goes down & the company is wiped out. One terrorist act would severely cripple the safety and function of the city. What if we had a tornado or fire? Stupid concept. I do not want my tax $ spent on this.

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