There was very little disagreement among council members Monday night when it came to a decision on what to do in regards to a future new police headquarters, but it took a lot of chatter to reach that conclusion.
After about 15 minutes of council members saying much the same thing many times over, the Batavia City Council, without a vote, but by consensus, agreed that the city should move forward with a task force recommendation to select Swan Street as the location for the proposed station.
The big question is how to pay for it, and council agreed to ask city staff to prepare a report on funding options and anticipated costs.
"We have a recommendation," said Councilwoman Kathy Briggs to open to the discussion. "The volunteers on the task force did all this work and so, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to act on this? I think it's time to step up to the plate. The task force gave us all the information, all the facts and figures, so I say, let's move forward with the recommendation and direct the administration to see what kind of grants are out there."
Councilwoman Rosemary Christian said she's received a few calls on the topic from residents worried about how the city is going to pay for it, so she wants to know how the city is going to pay for it. Are taxes going to be raised?
Councilman Kris Doeringer followed: "I move we come to a consensus to follow the recommendation with Swan Street and then direct the administration to come up with a report on how we're going to pay for it ... I think we all pretty much agree to follow the task force's recommendation, so, OK, yes, let's get that on the record and then move ahead and see how we're going to pay for it."
Briggs agreed with Doeringer.
Councilman Pierluigi Cipollone pointed out that options for paying for the station were pretty much spelled out in the task force's report.
"A lot of work has been done already on how we're going to pay for it," Cipollone said. "I think if you follow the report, the plan is we're going to pay down a lot of current debt and cycle that into paying for debt for the new facility. If we can get grants, so much the better, but quite a bit of work has gone into looking at this, and agree or disagree, here's how we're going to pay for it."
Christian: "I agree on the site. I do realize and appreciate that a lot of work went into this, but I'm still up in the air on how we're going to afford this."
Councilman Eugene Jankowski wondered if, given the amount of money involved, "if nine people should decide this." He wondered if the expenditure, especially if loans are involved, shouldn't go to a vote.
There was no answer to that question.
Councilman John Canale said he's heard from constituents who say other municipalities have built new police stations for a lot less than the estimates to build one in Batavia. He suggested those cities be researched and perhaps council members should visit those police stations and see if something similar would be suitable for Batavia.
"There may be some leg work that needs to be done here," Canale said.