Albany voters said no to a $20.3 million bond in November for building a new police headquarters and replacing the main fire station downtown, and now the city council has made a new start in trying to win their approval. It will seek the advice of respected and independent reviewers.
The council has agreed to form an autonomous committee to review the building proposals and recommend ways to try to “secure voter approval.” Retired state Sen. Frank Morse, R-Albany, and retired Linn County Sheriff Dave Burright are to head the panel and select its members, including an architect, an engineer, a certified public accountant, a business owner, a building contractor and one “government” representative. The panel is meant to subject the city’s building proposals to an outside review. It is to make sure the plans respond to voters’ concerns and are not wasteful or extravagant and, once approved, are completed in an economical and sensible way.
By approving Councilor Floyd Collins’ concept and outline of this committee, the council promised not to direct or try to run the panel. Having Morse and Burright in charge is a guarantee that the promise is kept.
The committee is to have no hurry-up deadline. So, in a process open to the public, it can take its time and come up with recommendations whose soundness will be evident to perhaps not all but more voters than before. (hh)