April 20, 1998

Local News

Council to discuss police station this Thursday

     by Andrew Walgamott
   Staff reporter

   BOTHELL--The Bothell City Council will hold a special Thursday night meeting this week to finalize the scope of work and schematic designs for the new police station/municipal court. The full council is expected to attend. Controversy has surrounded the yet to be built downtown facility as Bothell city officials have differing opinions on whether the project is over budget or not. While Councilmember Terry Olsen says the current design would cost at least $1.4 million more than what voters approved for the project last May, Mayor Debbie Treen and Police Chief Mark Ericks say it isn't overbudget until the City Council approves overruns.
   This Thursday, the council will look at four construction options that range in cost from $9.705 million to $11.1 million. The lowest estimate would delay building the court. The highest is an outgrowth of the council's unanimously supported directive to use the $9.7 million bond to build a new court along with the police station. Last week, consultants told a subcommittee of the council that option would cost over $11.1 million to build.
   That's up about $100,000 from previous estimates because a "premium" heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system was added back to the project as well as other mechanical costs. Costs could continue to climb. Olsen said the city has a responsibility to replace 43 parking stalls the project will swallow. That could involve buying several lots north of City Hall. But Ericks said acquiring those lots should be addressed with expansion of City Hall rather than the police station.
   Olsen said he hoped that the council and staff would come to a "common understanding of where we are and eliminate the politics [seen] in the public discussion" with this Thursday's meeting. "Statements on the status of the project are remarkably different based on who the news media asks. We should not be in that sort of environment," he explained. "It's unreasonable to expect the public to understand what we're doing if we, as public officials, have such radically different interpretations or descriptions of the status of the project," he said.
   Ericks continues to maintain that local newspaper headlines saying the project was over budget are "premature." "You don't have the police chief saying we have to build a new court. You don't have the police chief saying we have to remodel the bank. I'm willing to do what the City Council wants us to do as soon as they decide what to do," he said.
   Held at City Hall, Thursday's meeting begins at 6 p.m.