Bite the bullet

Published 12:34 am Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When it comes to building a new police center, it’s time for Washington to move ahead with the project.

In June, the City Council suspended the project, in part, because of funding concerns. Last month, later that month, the city received a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development branch expressing concerns about that decision and project-related delays.

The way we read that letter, USDA is telling the city to make up its mind about whether it will borrow money from USDA to help pay for the project. In a nice we, USDA is telling the city that if it doesn’t make up its mind soon, USDA has plenty of other local governments waiting for USDA loans for their projects.

If the city continues to drag its feet on the police-center project, it may lose its chance to borrow from the USDA — which provides low-interest, easy-term loans — to help pay for the project. That would be a shame.

Yes, there are some city residents who contend the city shouldn’t borrow money to help build the project. The city can’t afford it, they claim.

We contend the city can’t afford not to proceed with the project. And there’s no doubt the current police center, which opened in 1975, is aged, outdated and inadequate when it comes to meeting current policing needs and standards.

With contractors submitting extremely low bids on constructions projects to have income coming in during these sluggish economic times, local governments are finding these times ideal for building because they are getting good deals when it comes to construction projects.

If at all possible fiscally, the city should take advantage of that situation. By waiting, the cost of building the project could increase.

If there’s any way the city can move forward with the project, it needs to do so.