Update: (added video, reaction from officials)
Redmond bonds and Sunriver Public Safety 10-year tax passed
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Not one, but two central Oregon police departments are getting new, larger headquarters. The city of Redmond has won voter approval for its new project Public Safety Facility, as does the resort community of Sunriver.
Tuesday night’s primary election results showed Redmond’s proposed $40 million bond was approved by a vote of 56% yes to 44% no.
The facility was proposed by the Redmond Police Department, which highlighted its need for more space and various new systems.
The new building has a cost cap of $49 million, but Redmond City Council has already committed $9 million to the project, making the general bond bond $40 million. Homeowners will pay $152 per year, based on the average assessed value of a home.
Redmond Police Chief Devin Lewis told NewsChannel 21 how much the measure means to the department.
“It means a lot. We’re really encouraged by the preliminary results, and hope these numbers continue to move in our direction,” Lewis said. “And it means a lot to have the support of the community. I know that all of us who work here at the Redmond Police Department greatly appreciate the support of the community, and we are very happy to be able to hopefully get a new building and being able to grow and evolve with the city of Redmond as it evolves and grows.”
Sunriver’s service district is in the same lucky – and grateful – position after Tuesday night’s election results showed their 10-year local option draw slipped easily from 70 percent to 30 percent.
Sunriver’s current police and fire facilities do not meet code requirements for an “essential facility,” officials said in their information provided during the election. The 10-year levy will turn the current fire station into a combined police and public safety building for $18 million — something Sunriver Police Department Lt. Mike Womer said is badly needed.
“The fact that this community voted for us — I mean, we’re honoured, we’re honoured. It’s huge,” Womer said.
A low-interest, tax-exempt loan will be sought to service the debt over the 10 years of drawdown. The financial impact for owners of this public safety improvement is $0.47 per $1,000 of assessed value. For a property owner in Sunriver with a taxable property value of $400,000, that will be an additional $188 per year for the next 10 years.
Both departments lack parking, space to interview victims and suspects, and store evidence. Womer says the new facility will make the service smoother and more efficient.
“It will streamline our processes,” Womer told NewsChannel 21. “It will make our officers more available and effective in the community and spend less time at other county facilities accomplishing our mission.”
Both facilities are expected to be completed in 2024. Bill Hepburn, president of the Sunriver Association, says the project will serve as an investment for the future.
“Not only are we building for today, but we’re looking to give Sunriver adequate public safety facilities for the next 30 to 40 years,” Hepburn said.
Once the election is certified, the next step for the Redmond bond is to secure funding. The Sunriver Service District has already begun its next steps. Board members work on demand proposals for a design team and will then find a contractor.