What is a General Obligation Bond?
A general obligation bond is a voter-approved municipal bond backed by the full faith and credit of the City of Melbourne and secured by a pledge of the City’s taxing power.
Can the General Obligation Bond be used to fund other projects?
No. 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.
What improvements will the bond funds make possible?
The funds will be used to 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.
Could the current facilities be renovated?
The current police headquarters building was 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 almost 2 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.
How was the size of the new facility determined?
On November 28, 2017, City Council awarded a contract to Harvard Jolly for completion of a Space Needs Assessment for a new combination police station/communication center/City EOC, which would replace both of the existing buildings. Harvard Jolly met with division heads to gain an understanding of the daily operations of each division and to discuss the needs of each division. Each estimated its future growth and provided its current and anticipated needs for the next 20 years. Harvard Jolly used this information to prepare a building program and determined that the new building would need to be approximately 72,500 square feet. It would have 2 stories, with Patrol, Records, Property & Evidence, Holding, Special Operations and a Community Room on the first floor, and Administration, Criminal Investigations, Communications, Training & Recruiting, IT, and the City’s Emergency Operations Center on the second floor.
Where will the new station be located?
The new site location is planned for the northeast corner of Airport Blvd. and NASA Blvd.
Why can’t the existing Apollo Blvd. property be used?
The footprint required to make the current Apollo Blvd. site work would require the building to be more vertical than proposed (maybe 4 stories instead of 2) to reduce footprint size. It also would likely require construction of a parking garage structure. These two items along with having to relocate Police Department operations to a temporary facility for a period up to two years and then move them back would increase the cost of the project.
What will happen to the existing properties?
We are considering trading the existing Apollo Blvd. site for the new station site and are working cooperatively with the airport and FAA about how to make that happen. We plan to sell the Babcock St. property once employees are moved to the new location.
What is the estimated total cost of the project?
The new consolidated police facility — including design, construction, furnishings and equipment — is estimated to cost up to $35 million.
Why is a General Obligation Bond necessary?
The annual debt service cost for the Police Headquarters Facility is estimated to be $2.5 million. Taking this money from the City’s general operating fund would mean a significant cut in other city services, including possible facility closures and staff layoffs. Financing the design and construction of this facility through a general obligation bond would provide funding for the facility while also allowing for the City to maintain existing levels of service for other City operations.
Why will it cost more than a typical office building?
Construction for a secure, hardened police facility costs significantly more per square foot than other types of buildings. In addition, the new facility will be hardened to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. It will have redundant systems, including a generator, independent HVAC systems, a backup water source and a backup sanitary system. These redundant systems will protect the Emergency Operations Center and 911-Communications Center to ensure services can be dispatched to provide help to the public in their time of need — even during a catastrophic storm.
How much will property taxes increase for Melbourne homeowners?
The additional millage required to fund the estimated $2.5 million annual debt service cost will be approximately 0.5998 mills. Based upon 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 approved, when would the new station be completed?
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.
How do I get more information about this project?
Visit this webpage about the project.
What question should I look for on the ballot on November 6?
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