Safety, municipal building plans revealed
by Brian Anderson
Residents and city leaders on Thursday got their first look at the proposed Jacksonville Public Safety and Municipal Facility.

A presentation from Tom McElrath and David Oliver of McRath and Oliver Architects showing off the rough draft for the floor plans and outside design of the building took up most of the work session for the Jacksonville City Council meeting.

McElrath showed off side-by-side comparisons of the proposed building with and without the city hall attached, which will depend on cost estimates after the project goes into the bidding stages. Both designs include a city jail, the police department, fire department and municipal courtroom which will double as a FEMA guideline-approved community safety room.

There were still some lingering questions about the project’s design including a disagreement about if the separate departments would be fully connected by indoor corridors or be “open to the elements” McElrath said.

McElrath said the design represented 50 percent completion, and would have 100 percent completion plans on May 6. From there a construction plan would be devised by September and a bidding process for contractors would end in October.

At the meeting, Jacksonville police Chief Tommy Thompson asked the council to back the introduction and passage in Montgomery of the School Safety Act legislation currently in draft stage. The bill would seek to increase property tax in Calhoun County to raise money for the 800 mhz radio system used by law enforcement agencies and schools in the county as well as pay for resource officers in all county schools. The bill would require a vote from residents of the county to add a constitutional amendment.

“It’s going to go up for a vote, so why not pass it and let the people decide,” said Council President Mark Jones.

Alabama Senate Pro Tempore Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said last week he would oppose the measure due to tax increase, but said he’d take another look at the legislation and alternate ways of raising money before rejecting the bill.

Thursday’s meeting ended in executive session as the council discussed terminating Street Department employee Jonathan Bragg – a measure approved unanimously by the council. Mayor Johnny Smith declined to comment on the decision after the meeting.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a contract with Bama East Umpires Association for 2013 youth league baseball games.

• Approved a contract of $2,400 for Aliza Yarden-Cummings for 2013 Farmer’s Market Manager.

• Approved resolution to keep swimming pool year passes at same rate of $40 per person or $75 for family of four.

• Reappointed Richard Lindblom, Susan Dibiase, Jay Dill and Councilman Truman Norred to the Tree Commission.

• Reappointed Jacksonville police Chief Tommy Thompson, Council President Mark Jones, and Ronald Thomas to the Planning Commission.

• Reappointed Jay Dill to the Zoning Board of Adjustments.

• Appointed Kyle Warmack to the Calhoun County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Citizens Advisory Committee.

• Accepted the resignation of city ACE Coordinator Derek Raulserson.

• Approved hiring Jesse Benefield, Raymond Tompkins and Joshua Womack as Utility Maintenance Assistants

• Approved hiring Adam Law as Utility Equipment Operator.

• Approved promotion of Clyde Shew to Lead Utility Equipment Operator.

• Approved hiring Matthew Blake Johnston as city police officer.

Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.
© 2013