Bexley City Council held a special meeting Sept. 16 to once again discuss the long-delayed construction
project for the new police station.
The project is now projected to cost about $7.5 million, almost a million more than the $6.6 million budget for the project. The council voted to submit the project for rebidding immediately rather than take more time to try to find ways to cut costs.
Project architect Dave King said they had looked at ways to cut costs, but had decided that rather than try to make significant changes to an already efficient plan, it would be better to get the project started immediately before the cost of labor and materials got higher.
"We tried to leave no stone unturned as far as avenues for appropriate savings," said Mac Ware, a consultant
on the project for the City of Bexley. Ware said he was in agreement with King’s conclusions about the project.
Police Chief Larry Rinehart told the council they had gone over every room in the design, and that they couldn’t cut anything out without hampering police work in the future. As an example, he said they could cut out the proposed shooting range, but then they would have to travel somewhere else to do training, which would add up to a significant cost in the long run.
He said he thought the design as it currently stands is efficient and adequate, and described the current police facility as "deplorable and embarrassing."
Council member Rick Weber expressed disappointment that the project had not met the original budget. King said they had tried to stay within the given budget, and were not able to do so.
Council member Ben Kessler asked about the possibility of using some rooms in the new station for other purposes like council meetings, to at least save some money that would have been used on other facilities.
Rinehart said it would be possible, but he didn’t think the council would like using the available rooms because of their small size, and that it would also pose security concerns and challenges for the police to have public meetings in their station.
The council ultimately voted 6-1 to suspend the three-reading requirement for ordinances, on the grounds that it would be beneficial to get going as soon as possible with the re-bidding process. It was also noted that there had already been ample opportunity for input on the project.
The council then unanimously passed the ordinance to put the project up for re-bidding.