rendering_police-stationRedding set in motion the planning for a $7.4 million police station at City Hall.

On Tuesday, councilors voted 4-1 in favor of a proposal to appropriate about $1 million in bond proceeds and contract with the architectural firm Nichols, Melburg & Rossetto for design work.

The facility, provided the project stays the course, would open late 2014 and replace the old, dilapidated police headquarters on California Street, a site plagued by sewage spills, water quality concerns and water leaks.

Police Chief Robert Paoletti endorsed the council’s decision.

“It’s one more step forward to get a new facility,” he said.

In a council discussion leading up to the vote, members said they had some concerns about the city incurring more debt.

But Mayor Rick Bosetti, echoing his peers’ sentiments, said a new police facility is overdue and he was confident the costs would be covered by newfound monies coming into the city.

“We’re starting our seventh year on trying to find a home for our police department. It is our intention to build this thing well within our budget and I have every confidence in our contractors, our designers that that will happen,” he said.

Vice Mayor Patrick Jones, who offered the lone dissenting vote, said he couldn’t support the police plan because the council had not had a discussion on moving Redding Electric Utility staff out of City Hall and the costs associated with that. He expressed concern about the city taking on new debt and how REU’s move could potentially affect electric utility ratepayers.

“I am not certain that the future in the economy will allow us to take on more debt today to cover everything that we have already promised and future promises and this promise,” he said.

Under the plans, police investigation and administration would move into the office space on the second floor occupied by REU staff, and the patrol and evidence divisions would occupy a 16,000-square-foot building in a lot west of City Hall.

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