Politics & Government

Centerville’s former police department to be razed

CENTERVILLE -- The city’s old police department, which at one time served as City Hall, will be gone in a matter of weeks.

City Council agreed Tuesday to pay International City Builders $94,000 to demolish the building, reducing the site to “dirt and sod.”

The demolition project is set to begin by the end of May and will be completed in two to three weeks, Mike Brumfield, the city’s director of operations, told the council.

The property sits next to Centerville Elementary School on North Houston Lake Boulevard. The council previously expressed a desire to see the project begin and end while the school was out for summer holidays.

International City Builders’ bid was the lower of two bids made for the project.

The city’s police department moved from the building into new facilities on Church Street, next to City Hall, in the past year.

Also Tuesday, council members had a lengthy discussion over whether to lease or purchase vehicles for police.

Councilman Jonathan Nichols said that during recent budget meetings, he initiated discussions leading to a decision to buy certain police vehicles, particularly five lower mileage command staff vehicles, which would be cheaper for the city.

However, Nichols said a “monkey wrench” was thrown in the plan when it was discovered that vehicles would not be available for purchase or outfitted by the time the current lease agreement ends in June.

He said the city essentially was faced with an ultimatum to lease vehicles or not have the 13 total vehicles the city needs.

As the matter was discussed, Mayor John Harley and Councilman Ed Tucker asked if there were 13 police vehicles ready for lease, why weren’t they available for purchase?

Nichols said he understood that the vehicles were strictly for lease and not for sale due to the vendor’s policy.

Council members agreed the issue shouldn’t be left without a direct response from the leasing dealership, Brannen Motor Co. of Unadilla. Nichols was tasked with contacting the dealership.

In other business Tuesday, the council:

Agreed to police donating $1,000 of confiscated criminal funds to the Macon Area Crimestoppers tip line and to police spending confiscated funds to send Detective Michael Montford to a law enforcement anti-gang conference;

Reappointed Ralph Kennedy, Steve Honrath, Clay Peacock and Ronnie Babbitt to the city’s planning and zoning commission and Steve Bertram, Gary Davey, Linda Harwell and Ralph Kennedy to the zoning appeals board. That leaves one yet-to-be-filled position on each board;

Gave final approval to a long-discussed new personnel manual for city employees;

Gave final approval to a previously discussed contract for a $246,118 street paving project, said to be $23,000 under original budgeted projections.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.