Milford aldermen push new police HQ budget to $40M

Milford, police headquarters building.

Milford, police headquarters building.

Jill Dion / Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — The Board of Aldermen approved the 2021-26 Capital Improvement plan, with an added amendment that increased the budget for a new police headquarters from $30 million to $40 million.

Alderman Matt Arciuolo II (D-1) motioned to increase the police budget line.

“I do concur with you,” said Alderman Anthony Giannattasio (R-1). “I actually sat on the police building committee, and in light of inflation and cost of building, I think it is prudent to have these capital improvement plans. These numbers reflect today's cost.”

Milford Mayor Ben Blake said for the next year, what will be before the city, as the official capital improvement plan, is what will be adopted during the alderman meeting.

“If it’s adopted with an adjust to this particular item, the police department proposal, it will be adopted for the entirety of the year,” he said.

Alderman Dan German (R-4) said about four or five years ago when the $30 million figure was proposed, but when the architect looked at it, he gave them a proposal closer to $60 million.

“At one point when I was on the board, this proposal, which goes back at least 30 years, had the police station at $14 million then $15 million. More recently, when I was mayor, the proposal was at $20 million, and then it went to $30 million,” said Blake. “This is a big project, and it’s going to increase the debt service for the city of Milford significantly.”

Blake said he intends to move forward with the project, but there needs to be a way to pay for the project.

“There was a building committee that came up with a great and grand police station that was going to last us for 100 years,” he said. “Unfortunately, there was a huge price tag associated with it that caused us to push the pause button because it would have jacked up our mill rate by one mill or approximately $7 million in debt service for a 20-year period. At that point, three years ago, we couldn’t afford that. But we are looking at ways to upgrade the police station, whether it is a $40 million upgrade to the existing facility.”

Blake said even though what the board decides to vote on regarding the final figure of the capital improvement plan, the plan is just a tool.

“Everything that is here is still subject to funding, and it’s a chart that we use to have broad strokes,” he said. “It also qualifies us in a lot of respects for federal and state grants that do come up.”

Some of the capital improvement plan items Blake called said they were “a wish list items.

“If one of the federal grants that are out there that is specific to some type of capital improvement, we have that ready to go,” he said. “Often, these grants have as a condition precedent inclusion in a municipalities capital improvement plan.”