Public Safety Center Debate Consumes the Forest City Council (Audio)

There has been a lingering question over the heads of the Winnebago County Sheriffs Office and the Forest City Council since the narrow defeat in elections last year on the Public Safety Center. Should Forest City join in the project and have the Center located in Forest City? At the city council meeting, the discussion was lengthy, but cautious. City Administrator Mac Tilberg encouraged the council to act:

Councilmember Tony Mikes had a personal preference that the city have its own police department separate from the future county facility. Mayor Rick Skjeie told the council that the cost to the city for 3,400 square feet which would be the city’s section of the project, would run in the $400,000 range, but the city would have full access to the same facilities as the county.  Councilmember Ron Holland wanted to see other options explored, particularly using the old Fire Station or remodeling the police station. His concerns revolved around the depletion of the city’s General Fund :

Tilberg was quick to point out the efficiency of having the two law enforcement agencies in one facility:

By cost comparison, the Emergency Services Center, which also holds two departments, Ambulance and Fire, is costing over $1.5 million to construct as opposed to the city’s cost to into the Public Safety Center which would be around $450,000.