BY NICK DIAMANTIDES
Progress is being made in the final design of the new Signal Hill Police Department (SHPD) headquarters, but the national and state economic crises are impacting the Signal Hill Redevelopment Agency’s (RDA) ability to finance the project. That’s what staff told the Signal Hill City Council during its Tuesday night meeting.
“Staff is extremely concerned over the Legislature’s proposed raid of Agency funds to balance the state’s chronic budget shortfalls, the impacts on the economy of the banking, insurance and financial sectors due to the residential subprime lending crisis, and the potential impacts to the timing of the construction of the new station,” said City Manager Ken Farfsing. “Staff is recommending completion of the construction plans, despite the uncertainty of the state budget and the turmoil in the financial markets.”
The state is taking one million dollars from the Signal Hill RDA to soften California’s budget deficit. In addition, according to Farfsing, the instability of the bond market was complicating the planned issuance of $22 million in bonds to finance the project.
During the meeting, the city’s financial advisor, Suzanne Harrell, outlined the recent dramatic changes in the bond market and recommended that the RDA wait until January to issue the bonds.
Deputy City Manager Charlie Honeycutt and Police Chief Tom Sonoff said that construction plans for the new facility are about 60-percent complete. City Attorney David Aleshire explained that the RDA was moving forward in its plan to acquire the four-acre parcel for the new police station through the power of eminent domain.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m., October 14 in the council chambers of Signal Hill City Hall.