Arroyo Grande goes back to drawing board on police station

For the second time in two years, a majority of Arroyo Grande voters have been in favor of funding a new police station to replace the aging, leaky building on North Halcyon Road.

But the city has been unable to attain the two-thirds threshold needed for the bond measure to pass.

Concerns about the economy may have prompted some voters to reject the measure, City Manager Steve Adams said Wednesday. The $6.7 million bond measure failed Tuesday night with about 61 percent in favor and nearly 39 percent against.

Two years ago, the measure failed with 65 percent voting in favor.

“We felt we had addressed these concerns through a cost-effective plan that would not raise annual tax rates, but it was obviously not enough to be successful,” he wrote in an email to The Tribune.

“We felt very confident that this was the best plan possible and other options will likely increase long-term costs to the city,” he added.

Now, Arroyo Grande leaders will discuss whether to continue to repair the current station while analyzing ways to possibly pay for a new one.

Adams said the city has about $700,000 that was allocated toward the project that can be used for repairs.

The new station was proposed to be constructed at West Branch Street and Old Ranch Road. It would have given police an expanded dispatch center, an emergency operations center and adequate space to store evidence and house computer equipment.

City officials said the plan wouldn’t have increased property taxes but instead would have extended the assessment rate set by a fire bond measure that voters passed in 2002.

Property owners have been paying $8.17 per $100,000 of assessed value. If the bond measure had passed, they would continue to pay that amount for 30 years. Because it failed, they will stop paying this portion of property tax in about 10 years.

The city also planned to obtain financing through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and use some local sales tax revenue to cover the balance of the bond payments.