Correction: Eudora City Administrator John Harrenstein contacted to state that the mill levy increase is not for a $500,000 fund. The 2 mill increase maintains funding for equipment replacement (i.e. police cars, fire engines) so that the costs of replacement does not place a heavy burden on future budgets. The two mill increase places only $34,000 aside for the design and location analysis for the new fire station. regrets the error. The story below has been updated to reflect these facts.

The City Council met in informal session on Tuesday evening to discuss the budget for 2011. The Council decided to propose raising the city mill levy by two mills. The mill levy increase will allow the city to hold current spending levels, maintain funding for equipment replacement and replenish the reserve fund which has shrank in recent years. $34,000 will be also be set aside for design and location analysis for a new fire station. A 2 mill levy increase would add $34.50 in property taxes on a house valued at $150,000.

A new police and fire station was discussed at length in this session of the Council. The initial idea for this building will include an 8000 sq. ft area that will house training rooms, locker rooms, housing facilities, and administrative offices for both the Police and Fire Department. An additional 6000 sq ft. bay area for police and fire vehicles will be a part of this building. Police Chief Grady Walker and new Fire Chief Chris Moore have researched the cost of retrofitting a current structure and building an entirely new structure. The findings of Walker and Moore are that a new building, while being a little more expensive, is a better alternative than dealing with costly rehab and retrofitting of a pre-existing structure.

Walker and Moore have conducted preliminary talks with Morton Buildings about a new structure. These talks have centered on finding out the cost of a public safety building. The cost estimate for a new structure, depending on design, needs in the building and land acquisition, would be in an approximate range of 1.4 million to 2 million dollars. The hope is that possible grants could offset some of the expense of a new facility.

Some of the locations mentioned as possible building sites include either Kerr Field, Laws Field or a section of land just south of Dairy Queen. Both Laws Field and Kerr Field are currently owned by the Eudora School District. Other sites could be considered as well for a new building.

No timetable has been set for construction of the new facility. The initial phase of the project will involve determining a basic design for the building and land acquisition.

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