City plans to fund new town hall and police station | New
Cannon Beach City Council met in a working session on Tuesday, April 13 to discuss how to raise funds to build a new Town Hall / Police Station.
Councilors discussed the following options at that meeting: asking voters to approve a property tax increase, raising the food and beverage tax, and housing city staff in mobile buildings. They spoke about the supposedly poor condition of the building that houses the current Town Hall / Police Department.
One idea is that the city is looking to get money from the American Rescue Plan Act, as posted on the city’s website. The money would fund water resilience, a new town hall / police station, a generator at the Ecola pumping station and other items.
City manager Bruce St. Denis said the only option he currently knew of to fund a new city hall would be either a food and beverage tax increase or property tax.
Although no votes were taken during a working session, councilors asked staff to consider the cost and feasibility of using modular buildings in the current town hall area to house staff. .
St. Denis said he would consider moving the police department to the part of the building that its staff now occupy and moving its staff into modules.
The city manager said two things need to happen before they ask voters: they need to make a decision on where the new city hall / police station is and how to pay for it.
Councilors discussed a possible 5.5% property tax hike.
St. Denis said raising money through a food and beverage tax would mean residents would not see their property taxes increased. They also discussed the idea of combining the two types of taxes.
Councilors reached consensus that the city needed a new Town Hall / Police Station due to the condition of the current structure.
It is old and was never built to house such a facility. Also, it is in the tsunami zone. Details of the condition are on the city’s website and have already been reported by The Gazette.
Councilor Brandon Olgilvie suggested that the city build a new police station on the current site.
Councilors commented that the city has yet to decide on a location for a new facility or a design.
St. Denis said he preferred to hire an architect to design the building that would be part of the overall project, and not someone to just produce a drawing.
Councilor Nancy McCarthy said they “really need to move forward and maybe get some federal help… if the infrastructure plan is passed.
McCarthy suggested asking voters the question in May, if not in the November ballot.
The city manager said if a seismic event occurred, they would manage the city on computers from their cars. He said the police would not have any facility from which to operate and help people.
He said the city was applying for American Recovery Plan funding. It would be great if we had that.
Police Chief Jason Schermerhorn spoke about his employees having breathing problems due to the air quality in the police station.
Olgilvie said he supports the idea of considering using portable buildings to house staff.
As of 8:05 a.m. on Wednesday, only 12 people had watched the Zoom council meeting on the city’s YouTube channel, as reported on the channel’s website.