By JOHN GUTEKUNST

Parker Pioneer

Could a new administrative office for the Parker Police Department be in the near future? Preliminary plans to use one half of the building at 1112-20 Arizona Avenue for a new home for the Parker PD were presented to the Parker Town Council April 19 in a work session before the regular council meeting.

Interim Town Manager Amy Putnam said the project was contingent on the Town receiving $600,000 in grant funds. These grants would come from Congressionally Directed Spending Funds. The Town filed an application for these funds from Arizona U.S. Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema before the April 6 deadline. The Council approved a resolution supporting the grant application at their April 19 meeting.

Police Chief Mike Bailey told the Council that the department is out of room at Parker Town Hall. He said they wanted to use the building at 1112-20 Arizona Avenue as it would be across the street from the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office. It would also be next to the Town Magistrate Court, and across the street from the Parker Justice Court and the La Paz County Superior Court.

Plans for the new administrative office would have all the offices for the police chief and senior officers facing a central area. Bailey said they would have room to grow at this location, and they could have a secured evidence room.

Bailey estimated the total cost at $600,000. This would include $400,000 for construction, $50,000 for engineering and architectural work, $75,000 for office furniture and equipment, and $75,000 for technology.

Public Works Director Steve Ziegler said construction costs are skyrocketing, but added he believe the project was “do-able” for $600,000. He added the roof work much of the structural work was already done as part of the Magistrate Court project.

Putnam said they were trying to keep the cost under $1 million. She added the town needed more room at Town Hall.

“We’re bursting at the seams!” she said.

The Town purchased the building at 1112-20 Arizona Avenue in March 2018 at a cost of $170,000. The building was best known as the office of the ADOT Motor Vehicle Division until MVD moved to their new office on Mutuhar Drive.

The Magistrate Court occupies one-half of the building, which had been used for retail shops and offices. The court had been at Parker Town Hall, but they had outgrown their space there. They also could not have installed the security measures mandated for all state courts by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The town council approved a bid of $245,000 from River Impact Construction of Parker for the project on July 21, 2020. The new courthouse opened Dec. 16, and the opening was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting on May 27, 2021.

A lot of structural work was done on the building as part of the remodeling process. This work included installing a new roof for the entire structure.

Congressionally Directed Spending replaces the earlier system of “earmarks.” This program allows members on Congress to use federal funds to directly address the needs of their constituents.

According to the website bpcaction:

“Congressionally directed spending provides federal lawmakers the ability to demonstrate priorities at home and their fight for constituents’ interests. Since the earmark moratorium, they have had to petition, lobby, and pressure federal agencies to consider local concerns.”

Applications must be filed directly with a state’s Members of Congress. They must exclusively benefit entities within their respective states.

According to information submitted by Sen. Kelly, here are other restrictions:

No requests for projects in which the Member of Congress is directly involved or his family is involved or has a financial stake in will be considered.

Requests for assistance from for-profit entities will not be considered.

All entities requesting Congressionally Directed Spending must acknowledge that any information provided in the application could be publicly disclosed.

Any project that is funded through a Congressionally Directed Spending request may be audited by the Government Accountability Office.

Priority for funding will be given to “shovel-ready” projects, projects that are sponsored or supported by units of local government, and projects that can be fully funded through a combination of congressionally directed spending and state, local and private funds.

Putnam said the Town should know later this year if the funding will be awarded.

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(1) comment

sam whittemore

wonder how much money P town and Q ville would save if they consolidated their PDs with LPSO. gotta be some coin. Ponce would love to have a little bigger kingdom, helps him springboard to the next higher govt position, paycheck and pension. a true win win for everyone. local town cronies would never go for it.

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