Anamosa voters will be heading to the ballot box March 3 to approve or deny funding for space upgrades for both the police and fire departments.

The total amount on the bond measure would allow for up to $2.9 million to be bonded, up to $2.2 million to rehabilitate the old Daly Creek Winery building for the police station and $700,000 for the expansion of the fire station.

Council Member Rich Crump wondered if the city could scale back the initial costs to bring down the bond amount and do the project in portions, getting a majority of the project done. Crump also wondered if whether city crews could do some work, to help control costs.

City Administrator Jacob Sheridan responded that the city would try to do things as economically as possible and didn’t want to get into the situation where the police department ended up in a temporary location and the city didn’t go the full mile. He noted the city would not have to borrow the full amount if the project came in under the projections.

Council Member Cody Shaffer said he believed, despite the price tag, it was still the most economical way to go about the project. Council Member Rod Smith, and mayor-elect, said he felt if the money was going to be spent, now was the time to do the entire project and it still left the city with more flexibility than if they would have to pay for a whole new building.

Council Member Kay Smith made the comment that the construction costs would only increase over time, not get cheaper.

In addition to the conversation held over the price tag, there was a discussion over whether the bonds for the fire department and police station projects could be separated. Members of the fire department asked that the resolutions be separated.

“I’m all for the police getting a new building. I’ve seen what they’re in, and they obviously need something,” Fire Chief Tim Shada said. “But the cost and what I saw from the very first town hall meeting we had, it appears everybody at that point was for the fire department expansion.”

Sheridan said he felt the best way forward was with a combined referendum. By a unanimous vote, the city council approved the combined referendum for March 3.

Ahead of the election, the city, with the assistance of Shive-Hattery, will hold informational meeting about the project.

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