On November 6, 2018, Melbourne voters will be asked if they approve the financing of a new Police Headquarters Facility with General Obligation Bonds.
With voter approval, the City of Melbourne will construct a centralized, efficient, 21st century police station that will consolidate and house the entire police department — including the 911-Communications Center and the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
The new 72,500-square-foot facility will be designed to function for decades to come and will allow for greater efficiency in operations, provide better service to the public and will improve the city’s ability to respond to man-made and natural disasters.
The new facility will be able to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Redundant mechanical systems will ensure the EOC and the 911-communications center can provide continuous service to the community during a catastrophic storm and get help to the public in their time of need.
A community room will provide space for residents and officers to work together on crime prevention and other initiatives that help make neighborhoods safer.
New storage will enable better care for equipment for specialty teams.
Additional space and conference areas will allow division officers to better share information.
The safety of the public is of paramount concern to the Melbourne City Council. To that end, having a well-run central command center is of vital importance.
The current Melbourne Police Department headquarters (pictured below) is simply inadequate and inefficient for our growing city’s needs. It was originally constructed over 30 years ago when the city’s population was about 46,000, and the department had only 128 employees.
About 20 years ago, city leaders purchased an additional building 1.8 miles away on Babcock Street to accommodate the expanding police force and house the 911-communications center and EOC.
Today, the Melbourne Police Department has more than doubled in size to 260 employees, and the city’s population is now at more than 80,000 and growing.
In addition to not providing enough space, the current buildings are in a deteriorated condition due to age and under-engineered systems that must be repaired.
Simply repairing and renovating these buildings would cost approximately $7 million and would not provide any additional space for today’s needs or for anticipated growth.
For these reasons, City Council concluded that it would be a better investment in the city’s future to construct a new consolidated police facility that will improve service to the community than to spend millions of dollars on repairs to buildings that will not provide any additional service to the public.
City Council has authorized the issuance of general obligation bonds to finance the project, subject to a referendum on the November 6 ballot.
Financing the design and construction of a new consolidated police facility through general obligation bonds will allow the city to maintain its current levels of service to the community.
Revenue raised from the general obligation bonds can only be used for the specific purpose of land acquisition, designing, constructing and outfitting the police facility. It cannot be used for anything else.
Cost and Tax Estimates
Construction for a secure, hardened police facility costs significantly more per square foot than other types of buildings. The new consolidated police facility — including design, construction, furnishings and equipment — is estimated to cost up to $35 million.
The additional millage required to fund the estimated $2.5 million annual debt service cost will be approximately 0.5998 mills.
Based on current financing rates, a homeowner with a taxable property value of:
- $50,000 will pay approximately $2.50 per month;
- $100,000 will pay approximately $4.99 per month;
- $150,000 will pay approximately $7.49 per month.
If voters approve the referendum on November 6, 2018, the city expects to be able to secure financing by the spring of 2019. Design and bidding would be completed by October 2019, and the new police facility would open in early 2021.
The Ballot Question
The following is the language that will appear on the November 6, 2018, ballot:
CITY OF MELBOURNE, FLORIDA
GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS
POLICE HEADQUARTERS FACILITY PROJECT
Shall the City of Melbourne issue general obligation bonds to finance the property acquisition, design, construction, and equipping of a police headquarters facility, not exceeding $35,000,000 in aggregate principal, in one or more series from time to time, bearing interest not exceeding the maximum legal rate, maturing not later than 20 years from their respective issuance dates, pledging the City’s full faith, credit and ad valorem taxing power?
Yes – For Bonds
No – Against Bonds