The Park Ridge City Council voted Monday to overturn Mayor David Schmidt's veto of the design and build plans of a new police facility.
The city council approved the first phase of the Police Task Force’s recommendation at the Nov. 7 city council meeting. The first phase of the project creates a new 1,500 square foot facility to store evidence.
Phase 1 of the project would cost the city $290,170; some of the costs would come from the general fund. The city also would use money from the city’s parking fund and additional grant funding would be explored, members of the task force told the council.
The mayor vetoed the measure at the Nov. 19 city council meeting. Fifth Ward Ald. Dan Knight was the only council member who voted to sustain the veto at Monday’s meeting.
Alderman Knight sides with Mayor
The mayor applauded the work of the task force, but said the storage needs met by Phase 1 of the project could be handled by other facilities already owned by the city, such as the Public Works facility.
Knight told the council he opposed the project, and suggested the costs of the new storage facility should be independent of the city’s general fund. Council members and members of the Police Task Force suggested selling the city’s Public Works facility to cover costs of developing the new facility.
“I still think that (Phase 1) should be paid for,” Knight said. “I would hope that before we move forward with Phase 2 and 3, we get the public works facility back on the market.”
Police Task Force defends the plan
A number of members of the task force addressed the council and the concerns Schmidt highlighed in his veto statement.
Ralph Cincinelli, who served on the task force, said Phase 1 was competitively bid and the cost to taxpayers is a relatively inexpensive investment in the police department.
“The task force has crafted a three year plan that defers the cost onto taxpayers for seven to ten years," Cincinelli added.
Park Ridge Police Chief Police Frank Kaminski said the task force did a noble job.
"They took the challenge to do cost affective strategies," Kaminski said. "I draw the line when it comes to making sure my employees have a safe environment. These are not cosmetic (strategies) these are serious things that need to be addressed."