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City hosts open house on proposed police station
by MATTHEW NASH
The city opens itself to citizens’ opinions on three proposals for the new Police Station and City Hall Civic Center next week.
People can review and comment on three concepts’ site plans, projected space requirements and cost estimates from 2-6 p.m. Monday, June 11, in the Sequim Transit Center, 190 W. Cedar St.
A one-tenth of 1 percent public safety sales tax for the police station comes to city residents on the Aug. 7, primary ballot. If approved, the sales tax would increase to 8.7 percent and add one cent to a $10 purchase. The tax would generate about $240,000 per year to pay for construction.
The city finalized the purchase of property from Serenity House of Clallam County in February.
City Manager Steve Burkett said they’ll have three options for review by architectural firm Arai Jackson Ellison Murakami of Seattle.
Two of the options have been presented to city councilors and a third is new with a proposed three stories in height rather than two.
When asked about expenses related to three stories at the May 28 city council meeting, Burkett said a three-story option isn’t likely after discovering the costs might be higher than two stories.
“It doesn’t make sense if it’s not cheaper,” Mayor Pro-tem Ted Miller said.
Burkett said the open house is the end of this phase in the civic center’s process.
“If the election is successful, then we’ll get more serious about narrowing our options,” he said.
Advocacy group forms
Political consultant Pat Johansen is forming an advocacy group, tentatively called Citizens for Public Safety, to promote the safety tax.
She said people aren’t aware yet of the proposal, but that will change after the city sends out an informative mailer and her group creates advertisements.
“I need to to put a group together who can reach consensus on what kind of outreach to do,” she said.
She’ll seek support from groups like the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, Soroptimist International of Sequim, and Rotary groups.
Johansen helped the city pass a Transportation Benefit District tax and worked with various local politicians on their campaigns.
“The police department really operates under a significant handicap. It’s not as good as it should be,” she said.
“This impacts each and everyone of us and helps with the protection for our tourists and our big box stores. It’s a positive, having a first-class emergency center and police station. It makes a difference to all in the area.”
Johansen said if the tax doesn’t pass, the city will have a hard time financing the police station and city hall.
“This is a lynchpin in an integrated civic center,” she said.
For more about the open house, call 683-4139 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.