Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Public Safety Building in Atlantic Beach Budget

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Public Safety Building in Atlantic Beach Budget

Article excerpt

Byline: DREW DIXON

ATLANTIC BEACH - The City Commission is set for a final vote on the 2006-07 budget Monday, but noticeably missing from the spending plan is a huge expenditure that has been considered - a new or revamped public safety building.

Discussions over refurbishing the building that houses the police and fire departments started last year and funds were allocated a year ago to revamp the facility. But after consultants looked at the project, several officials, including Police Chief David Thompson and City Manager Jim Hanson, considered building a new structure that could cost $4 million.

Thompson said the plan has been removed from the budget that takes effect Oct. 1. But he'll still pursue the issue.

"Just because it's not in the budget doesn't mean we've given up on it," Thompson said.

Thompson said he's preparing an October workshop for the City Commission in which he'll outline the options. Thompson plans to have architectural consultants detail the $4 million plan for a new facility as well as the original proposal for a 1,144-square-foot expansion for the 4,700-square-foot public safety facility.

Thompson acknowledged several factors are at work and he's not ready to make a recommendation to the commission yet.

"I can tell you I believe it would be more cost effective if we built a new public safety building rather than trying to renovate the existing one. However, I realize that's an expensive prospect," Thompson said.

In addition to constructing the building, the city would have to decide where to put it. Three options could be considered, Hanson has said: just west of the existing building at 800 Seminole Road, at Jordan Park or in or near Tideviews Park off Atlantic Boulevard.

Mayor Don Wolfson said it would take a lot of convincing in a workshop to convince him that a new building is necessary.

"We haven't seen the consultant's proposal," said Wolfson. "I proposed that we keep the police station where it is and move the fire station. …

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