Council discusses public safety building

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 7, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-The Demopolis City Council discussed alternatives for a new location of the proposed Public Safety building at their Thursday meeting. Some felt the city should abandon plans to renovate the previously proposed building and move the new location to the Demopolis National Guard Armory building. The Building Committee recommended the plan.

Councilmember Jack Cooley made a motion to use the National Guard Armory building, which garnered opposition. Councilmember Charles Jones and Thomas Moore both felt this was not a feasible alternative. Jones said they had already sunk money into the current plan and felt they should sick with it.

“I feel we have invested too much money in the public safety building to move the project,” Jones said.

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Councilmember Jack Cooley pointed out the money that was spent was used by the previous administration.

When the vote came it ended in a 3-3 tie prompting the council to look at another option. The council then voted on an alternative motion they offer the property for sale for 45 days and if the sale was not consummated within 45 days the property would be dedicated to the Municipal Complex.

The motion, again proposed by Cooley, stated they would offer the National Guard Armory declared as surplus and for sale for a term of 45 days following the appraisal of the market value. If the city does not get a firm commitment from a buyer the property would fall back to the city and would become the Public Safety Complex.

Most councilmember’s felt this was a better plan. However, they wanted to see a definite buyer in that time and wanted ample time to find the buyer. They also wanted to see a solid commitment.

It was estimated an appraisal of the building would take 30 days so the council voted to make the 45-day period come after this process was complete. Councilmember Woody Collins said if they did not approve this they would have very little time after the value was known.

“If you are not careful you will have eaten up your entire 45 day window with nothing but ascertaining a value prior to a commitment,” Collins said. “It also costs a bunch of money.”

Councilmember’s also agreed the appraisal they were seeking was a very simple one. Jones said they needed only one figure.

“We just want market value,” Jones said. “That is all we want. We just want to know what it would go on the market for.”

The new proposal passed by a 5-1 vote; however, it still gathered opposition from Councilmember Melvin Yelverton said he felt the new plan would be turning their back on the police force. Yelverton strongly opposed any delay in the project.