Maryville Public Safety is moving forward with preliminary steps directed toward eventual construction of a new police and fire headquarters.
Public Safety Director Keith Wood told the City Council this week he was ready to proceed with issuing a "request for qualifications" document in an effort to find an architectural firm capable of performing a needs analysis for the proposed facility.
When completed late this spring, Wood said he expects the analysis to identify three to five potential sites in addition to providing cost estimates.
The city has budgeted $40,000 the study in its current fiscal year spending plan.
Maryville police and fire personnel moved into the current station, a converted grocery store, in the mid-1970s. During Monday's City Council meeting, Mayor Glenn Jonagan called the combination headquarters, dispatch office and fire station "the poorest facility the city has, in my opinion."
Building a new Public Safety station means that, at some point, the city of Maryville and Nodaway County will likely resume discussions with regard to a shared dispatch center.
The idea of combining communications operations to embrace all of the county's law enforcement and first-responder agencies, including perhaps the Northwest Missouri State University Police Department, has been kicked around for years but "always dies on the vine," Wood said.
As might be expected, the stumbling block is who is going to pay for it. Though combining dispatch operations would produce some savings, Wood said the real economies are less than some think because Sheriff's Department dispatchers also serve as jailers.
So unless the new dispatch office was located at the jail, which is impractical due to space limitations, the county might have to hire more personnel, not fewer.
Still, Wood said the city will "consider everything" as plans for a new MPS headquarters move forward. He added that, if the funding can be worked out, a central dispatch unit "still makes a whole lot of sense" in terms of equipment, training and the overall streamlining of communications between agencies.
An independent study of local facilities conducted by consultant GEOcom also recommended combining dispatch operations, Wood said.
Other upcoming capital expenditures for Maryville police and fire include two new Ford Police Interceptor four-wheel-drive SUVs with a combined cost of $51,256. The vehicles are being purchased from Joe Machens Ford in Columbia. No local dealerships submitted bids.
One of the SUVs will replace a 2003 Ford Expedition with more than 87,000 miles currently used to patrol Mozingo Lake Recreation Park. The other will replace a 2009 Impala sedan patrol car with more than 102,000 miles. Wood said the department decided to beef up it's fleet with an additional four-wheel drive vehicle in order to have more flexibility during severe weather.
As for the MPS fire division, Capt. Phil Rickabaugh is currently preparing bid specifications for a new pumper that would replace an existing 1982 Ford 8000 truck that is "showing signs of deterioration and general concern."
Page 2 of 2 - Rickabaugh said Issues with the current truck, which was purchased new, include "age and wear and tear" along with a lack of current safety features, such as airbags and a rollover prevention system.
Cost of a new pumper is estimated at around $275,000. Funding is to come from projected municipal capital improvements sales tax revenue.
The pumper was purchased at the same time as the city's tower truck, which carries a 100-foot-tall boom and a pair of water cannon for use is fighting major structure fires. Rickabaugh said the tower truck will likely need to be replaced in another few years at a cost of around $1 million.
A third firefighting vehicle, a "brush truck" used to fight rural wildfires, is now being outfitted in Salinas, Kan., and should be delivered in mid-April. The $110,000 truck was paid for jointly by Maryville Public Safety and Polk Township.