Waxhaw discusses new town hall, police station

WAXHAW – After seeing the small town’s growth over the last 10 years, leaders in Waxhaw want to make the infrastructure improvements needed to prepare for the projected 50,000 residents they could see in the next 20 to 25 years.

To do that, town council has focused their sights on capital projects and development through Waxhaw.

Waxhaw town officials met Wednesday, Feb. 6, to hear presentations concerning costs and plans for a potential new town hall and police station – the town hall coming next year and the police facility the year after.

Town Manager Mike McLaurin and Commissioner Sean Poccia walked council members through current town expenses and explained how the addition of these facilities would factor into Waxhaw’s expenses over the next five years.  In the fiscal year 2012, Waxhaw had a total revenue of about $7.5 million and department operational expenses of about $5.3 million.

The current budget under discussion focuses on a town hall costing around $8 million and a police facility around $6 million – capital projects the town is looking at in line with the Downtown Master Plan recently approved by commissioners and the Capital Improvement Plan, which has not been finalized.

The addition of a town hall and police station would increase Waxhaw’s current expenses anywhere from $570,000 to $2 million, in addition to current expenses, over the next five years varying from year to year, according to the presentation from McLaurin.

Before moving ahead with any development, Mayor Daune Gardner wants to create a more formalized public forum to make sure the town hall, police facility and any other projects are exactly what residents want and need for the future, especially with the projected growth.

“I don’t think it would be a bad idea at all for us to have a public process where we engage the public in understanding what kind of public goods we want as a community,” she said,  “… understanding we are on the track of becoming a community of 50,000-plus in 20 to 25 years and supporting a much broader landscape.”

Town commissioners may vote at their next meeting – Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 6:30 p.m. – whether to move forward with the town hall project after discussing the current status of the project and possible design and space needs.  During the meeting, residents can voice concerns about the project.

Before moving forward with future development, Mayor Pro Tem Erin Kirkpatrick would like the commissioners to look at a town with about 50,000 residents, like Huntersville, and how the town handles development and budgeting to help Waxhaw leaders see how others in their situation plan.

According to estimates from a presentation giving during the meeting, the town hall will cost $7,159,063, not including the $350,000 for the land or operating cost after construction is complete.

If commissioners decide to move forward with the project, the town will receive a $8 million loan from BB&T with a low rate, paying back around $500,000 to $700,000 per year depending on their decided payment plan.

For the police station, the town has projected a total cost of $5,627,188 excluding the land purchase and operating costs.  The town would receive a $6 million loan for this project from BB&T.

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