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Voters to Decide Fate of New Police Station

June 02, 1991|FRANKI V. RANSOM | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Monrovia voters will decide Tuesday whether city officials may levy a special tax to raise funds for a new $8.8-million police station.

If approved by two-thirds of the voters, Proposition A would allow the city to create a special assessment district to pay for the proposed 30,000-square-foot, two-story station. The city wants to issue $10.2 million in bonds, of which about $8.8 million would be used to build and equip the station. The rest would cover the cost of issuing the bonds.

If the measure is passed, each Monrovia homeowner would be assessed $49 annually for the next 27 years to repay the bonds. Apartment owners would also be assessed $49 per unit, and businesses would be assessed based on their square footage.

After a 1989 consultant's report determined that the police station had inadequate space, the City Council appointed a nine-member citizens committee to evaluate whether Monrovia should construct a three-story addition or build a new station.

The Police Department's 78 full-time employees now work in a 12,800-square-foot facility on Lime Avenue, next to City Hall.

"Files are all over the place, in the aisles, in the hallway leading to the jail. There's no room for anything," complained Police Chief Joseph Santoro. "People are working on top of one another."

Jack Bonholtzer, who was chairman of the Police Facility Citizen's Advisory Committee, added that the existing building is not earthquake-safe.

"We came to the rational conclusion that the city really needs a police facility. We spent most of the time discussing the best way to finance it. We decided that the best way was to spread the tax burden over the broadest spectrum of the city," he said.

Apartment owners, however, oppose the measure. Elsie Christison, assistant executive director of the Foothill Apartment Assn. in Pasadena, said the $49-per-unit tax would be unfair and disproportionate. The nonprofit association represents about 100 owners in Monrovia.

"If the tax is added, it could be the straw that breaks the camel's back," she said. "Our members are not wealthy property owners.

"One member who owns property in Monrovia said that she is not able to pass the tax on to renters because they are paying what they can afford now. If she has to pay out of her income, it could seriously affect what she pays for maintenance."

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