Council talks fresh start with public safety issues

After the November 2008 failure of two ballot measures that would have paid for construction of a new public safety facility and four fire stations, Grand Junction City Council members will spend the next few months asking city residents what, if any, public safety facilities they believe are necessary.

Surveys will be sent to residents in March and April, asking for input on how the city can maintain law enforcement, fire and emergency-medical response times. Whether that means building new police or fire stations or a new 911 call center depends on survey responses as well as comments received at meetings that will take place in April, Mayor Bruce Hill said at a council retreat Saturday morning.

“We’re cleaning the white board. There is no plan. There is no public safety initiative. We need to stop referring to a public safety initiative,” Hill said.

City Manager Laurie Kadrich advised against taking a “we did that last time” approach. That means not ruling out steps taken during the 2008 campaign, such as offering fact sheets listing population increases and 911 response-time changes to residents, just because the previous ballot measures failed.

“We have to forget we had another campaign,” Kadrich said.

Councilman Gregg Palmer said he was disturbed to learn after the election that some people thought the 2008 project idea aimed for too many amenities.

“We went out and told them last time what we needed, and it didn’t work. I want the community to tell us what they think we need,” he said.

Palmer also said he wanted to make it clear this spring that a second version of the 2008 plan is not necessarily in the works.

“They already have that conclusion,” Councilman Tom Kenyon said.

If the city does decide after listening to residents to ponder building a public safety facility, Hill said they should not assume it will be a remodeled version of the first plan.

Councilwoman Teresa Coons suggested the council try to reach as many as possible to get a better view of community sentiment.

“I think it’s important we not limit our listening to people that are well-known in the community,” Coons said.


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