Jacksonville City Council authorizes warrant issuance to pay for major public projects
by Laura Gaddy
May 23, 2013 | 7709 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JACKSONVILLE — At least two major construction projects are now feasible here following the City Council’s authorization Thursday of the issuance of $17,890,000 in general obligation warrants.

Roughly $13,915,000 of the money is designated to be used for the construction of a public safety complex, which will contain a jail, a police department, a municipal court, a fire department and might contain city hall. The remaining $3,975,000 has been promised to the Jacksonville City School System, which plans to use the money to help build at least one new school.

“This is the big approval,” said Lee Birehall, a bond attorney who is working with the city. “They will have the money in the bank on the 29th.” Birehall presented paperwork at the Jacksonville City Council meeting Thursday evening for city officials to sign.

Jacksonville leaders have been planning to build a public safety complex for three years and more than a year ago they passed a one-cent sales tax increase to generate money to pay the warrant debt, but until Thursday the officials hadn’t taken the requisite step for securing the money needed to build the complex and the new school.

The next task in the process will be to obtain an estimated cost for the safety complex, a task that’s expected to be complete within the next four weeks, officials said.

Whether city hall is able to relocate to the new complex will hinge on the results of that estimate, officials said. The estimate will also determine if the school system is able to build one, or two, new schools, they added.

City officials have said they might be able to give more than $4 million to the school system if the safety complex estimate is less than they expect it to be.

If so, the school board might be able to build two schools — an elementary school and a middle school. If not, officials have said they will likely scrap plans to build a middle school, but that they would still build a new elementary school, Superintendent Jon Paul Campbell said.

“Once they have that information, we’ll be able to move forward,” Campbell said.

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.
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