By Lee Weyhrich
With the Pinson Library bursting at the seams, rumors have been going around for months that the library might be moved to the Rock School Center. A first reading of a plan to have Hendon and Huckestein Architects design a library space in the building is the first officially publicized move by city officials in that direction.
The reading took place at last week’s meeting of the Pinson City Council. The firm would charge $7,500 for the first phase of the design process.
But once vacated, the library building would not go to waste if a plan proposed by Councilman Joe Cochran is implemented. He wants to turn the building into a police station.
After considerable research, Cochran believes a Pinson police department could be up and running at the end of 18 months.
“The first step would be to raise sales tax 2%, putting it equal to most other municipalities in the area at 10%,” he said.
Based on current figures, Cochran believes this would generate $950,000 in additional revenue. When that figure is added to the $340,000 the municipal government currently spends for deputies, it leaves a total law enforcement budget of $1.36 million. That amount, he said, should be more than enough to fund the department annually.
A total of $1.5 million in $500,000 increments would be required to get the program started, according to Cochran’s plan. The first six months of the new tax money would go towards renovations at the Rock School for the library. The next $500,000 would go towards startup costs, and the next $500,000 would be for reserve needs.
Once those goals are met, the tax revenue alone, Cochran believes, should be able to sustain a department consisting of a chief, a lieutenant, a detective, two sergeants, eight full-time officers, three part-time officers and two clerks, as well as their benefits and equipment.
A public hearing regarding Cochran’s proposal will likely be held before any decisions are made, he said.