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Volusia County OK’s Loan To Help Build New Sheriff’s Office Evidence Center

By on December 7, 2017 in WNDB News

Volusia County, FL –  On Thursday, the Volusia County Council unanimously approved a $7 million loan in order to cover a portion of the cost of a new Sheriff’s Office evidence facility.

The proposed site for the new evidence facility is 10 acres off of Tiger Bay Rd., near the Sheriff’s Office Training Facility. Construction has not yet begun, but the building will be about 35,000 square feet.

The plans for the new facility have been in the works for several years since the current evidence center is aging and out-of-date. “I’ve been in the evidence room a couple of times, and I know how nasty that place is over there,” said Council member Pat Patterson.

Council member Heather Post agreed that the current evidence facility is in dire repair due to mold and other problems. “I wouldn’t want to work there,” said Post. She said that a new evidence facility is “definitely a project that needs to be done and needs to be expedited with no more delays on it.”

The cost of the project is estimated at about $13.5 million. $5 million of that would come out of the County’s general fund, and the remainder of that money is supposed to come out of the Municipal Service District (MSD) fund, but County staff says there is only about $1.5 million in MSD reserves, so the $7 million loan is necessary in order to move the project along.

The loan will come from CenterState Bank and would be paid in semi-annual installments at an interest rate of 2.87% for 20 years. Money from the loan would go toward infrastructure costs of the new facility.

Some of the Council members proposed the idea of taking more of the money for the construction of the evidence center from the general fund as opposed to the MSD fund since the MSD fund is “on life support.” This would make the amounts coming from each fund more proportional.

County Manager Jim Dinneen explained that moving some of that money from the general fund is not out of the question down the line, but he says the County must be careful in doing that. “What you would be doing is subsidizing other people’s services with other cities’ money, and then you could have a taxpayer lawsuit,” said Dinneen.

While the new facility will be used for evidence collected in both incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County, the spending for the facility, in relation to both incorporated and unincorporated areas, has been carefully portioned out. “The building will be used for evidence that’s collected in areas that are also incorporated, but that portion will be picked up by the $5 million. This is the proportionate share of the evidence and the work that will be conducted in the unincorporated areas,” Dinneen explained.

Council member Joyce Cusack recommended that the County keep a very close eye on this project’s spending. “We need to proceed cautiously with our numbers as we come back with this because I don’t want this MSD fund, which is already on life support, to be overtaxed in this area,” suggested Cusack.

During the meeting, The County Council also approved $132,930 for safety upgrades to the historic Daytona Beach Courthouse clock tower on Atlantic Ave. The historic landmark is made of coquina stone and was constructed in the 1930’s.

For earlier reporting, click here.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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