Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Milton public safety, court facility awaits funding.

by Nicole Dow; Neighbor Newspapers

The start of construction for Milton’s new public safety and court facility, to be located on Highway 9, will depend on when and how city officials will decide the project will be funded, said City Manager Chris Lagerbloom.

“If this were our only large capital funding need, we probably would have already moved forward with it,” he said.

“We really have other capital project needs and what it will be the job of the council to do is to prioritize what order things happen in.”

Other big capital projects in the planning stage are enhancements to Bell Memorial Park and building a new city hall in Crabapple. The estimated cost for the public safety and court facility ranges from $8 to 10 million, Lagerbloom said.

He is currently in the process of putting together the city’s budget for the next fiscal year, which will begin Oct. 1. Lagerbloom said he should know by the first of the year what portion of the local option sales tax — shared between Fulton County and its cities — Milton will receive. That factor could affect how the city’s capital projects will be funded.

The city purchased the five acres of land where the new police, fire and court complex will be built in 2011 for $1.396 million, said Communications Manager Jason Wright.

“We know based on our call volumes and responses that we need to have something at Highway 9/Deerfield [Parkway],” he said.

Lagerbloom said the site was also ideal because of the access to public transportation, and the city was able to provide traffic relief from the adjacent Cambridge High School by giving the school a portion of the land to build a connector road to Highway 9.

Plans for the two-story, nearly 40,000-square-foot facility include the municipal court and fire department administration on the first floor.

The police administration and sleeping quarters for firefighters will be upstairs.

Moving the public safety departments and the court from their location at 13000 Deerfield Pkwy. will allow the city to renegotiate its lease to take up a smaller footprint of its current rented office space. Lagerbloom said public safety employees make up the majority of city personnel, so the move could empty out about 60 percent of the leased space

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