Final costs for Warner Robins law enforcement center get OK

chwright@macon.comMarch 11, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- What are supposed to be the final purchases for the city’s new law enforcement center have been approved, according to Redevelopment Agency executive director Gary Lee.

“This is it,” Lee said. “We have all of our additional little pings already done. And I think we’re done.”

The Redevelopment Agency board approved a list of purchase orders worth $457,600 at its Monday meeting, including drainage improvements and exterior cameras. Lee said a recent transfer from City Council shifted items from the police department’s budget to the project. Police are expected to move into the new building in mid-April

The 42,000-square-foot law enforcement center, under construction at Watson and Armed Forces boulevards, has been a long and grueling project, from deciding where it would be built to determining the final price tag.

As of Monday’s purchases, the project has cost $9.78 million. The majority of the budget, $9.45 million, was approved in the 2006 and 2012 special purpose local option sales taxes. In addition, interest totaling $115,000 earned from the 2006 SPLOST also was used for the project. And City Council transferred $275,000 to the project last week.

According to the budget city Finance Director Bill Harte gave the RDA board Monday, about $59,000 of that transfer will be returned to the city’s coffers. “We don’t foresee any (more costs), but we’ve still got a month left,” said Bill Mulkey, building inspector and the city’s oversight manager for the project.

Chairman Randy Meade said if anything does arise, it won’t be fixtures or equipment.

The money approved Monday includes $146,000 of change orders for improved storm drainage, exterior cameras, an intercom system and fencing. Lee said those are costs that weren’t anticipated.

The purchase orders also include an additional $25,000 for furniture upgrades to the original $256,000 order. The board agreed to pay up to 30 percent for a deposit. Kim Demoonie, procurement manager, said the furniture should arrive in four to six weeks.

Other items in the purchase orders includes refrigerators, audio and video equipment for conference rooms and the roll call room, telephones and digital systems.

Lee has said the police department needs more equipment and appliances than it has in its current 14,000-square-foot building, and some are too old to keep.

He said part of the reason council was asked to allocate more money for the project was to pay for items police Chief Brett Evans previously proposed he pay for out of condemned funds, a budget from confiscated items.

“Because when I turn the keys over to him that’s going to be his responsibility,” Lee said. “And there are going to be some additional things inside of there that he needs that he doesn’t even know about.”

The RDA has learned it needs to communicate better with council on projects, Lee said. He had to present the request for additional money to council twice because members hadn’t been kept abreast of the project’s needs.

“The last thing a politician wants is to be asked a question, and they don’t know,” Lee said. “It just caught them off guard.”

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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