Projects lose money to help fund Public Safety Facility

Projects lose money to help fund Public Safety Facility

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The Lawton City Council approved awarding construction of the Public Safety Facility to a company out of Oklahoma City at Tuesday night's meeting.

For the council to approve the bid, they also had to approve moving $4.9 million from other projects in the 2015 Sales Tax Extension.

The move was necessary due to the unexpected cost of the facility, which will eventually house the Lawton Police Department, jail, and the Central Fire Station. Lawton's City Manager Jerry Ihler said they projected it would cost approximately $37 million, but believe it's now going to cost just under $42 million.

"To gather the nearly 5 million dollars extra they'll need for the public safety facility the city plans to deduct money from road projects," he said. "The road projects are redoing the road starting at 67th and Gore going to 82nd street. Along with Rogers Lane heading east past I-44. Proposed funds were also moved from plans for the library and recreation."

Ihler said they decided how they were going to move the funds based on what the citizens said was their top priority, which is public safety.

"Since that was the top priority, then we needed to look at the other priorities incorporated into the 2015 sales tax extension and determine and reprioritize which ones have to be deferred so that we could fund that top priority," he said.

While multiple projects had money reduced because of the facility, Ihler said those projects could still be done.

"If there are any savings in the other projects that have already started in the 2015 sales tax it's possible that we get to the end of the 2015 program and we're not able to do the four projects that we have recommended for deferral," he said.

With the roadway projects, Ihler said enough money was left in there for them to continue the design process for the projects while the Oklahoma Department of Transportation contributes their part.

"If ODOT comes forward and says we have our construction match money available, and they'll say 'you have to provide yours' that's where we have to decide do we defer completely one of the projects and do the other," he said. "It would depend on which project ODOT comes forward and says they have funding for."

Construction is expected to start in the fall, and should take two years to complete.

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