Jonesboro delays vote on police ‘Doghouse’

But Council votes to buy $1,799 grill

Jonesboro Public Works Director Joe Nettleton talks to the City Council about plans to build a new Police "Doghouse" Monday night.

Jonesboro Public Works Director Joe Nettleton talks to the City Council about plans to build a new Police "Doghouse" Monday night.

— Officers in the Jonesboro Police Department will have to wait until next month to find out if the city will build them a new storage facility.

The City Council appears to be in agreement that the current structure should be replaced but a last minute push by Councilman Bobby Wiggins to buy a modular classroom rather than building a new facility held up a decision on the matter Monday.

“I think I can save us $160,000 or so by getting us a modular office type vehicle,” Wiggins said. “The man will sell them to us, they’re used classrooms, for $1,200.”

Wiggins announcement caught his fellow council members and Mayor Joy Day off guard. They had not heard anything about it before they were about to take a vote on giving the OK to use Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax dollars to build a new facility, also referred to by police as a “Doghouse.”

Public Works Director Joe Nettleton said a cost to build a new facility has not been set because the city has not put out a request for proposals from builders and architects. Bids haven’t been solicited either.

Officials said while they could use SPLOST funds to build a new facility since the money is earmarked for public safety-related construction projects. However, they said the money can’t be used to buy modular classrooms, which means the money would have to come out of the city’s General Fund.

Wiggins added that on top of the purchase price, the city would have to pay additional funds to install air conditioners and to renovate the modular classrooms so police can have a weapons storage space.

Some council members were skittish about spending money from the General Fund as opposed to the SPLOST fund.

“That’s a direct hit to our General Fund,” said Councilman Joe Compton.

A decision has been put off on replacing the current “Doghouse,” which police officials complain is filled with mold and animals, to find out more information about both replacement options.

While police continue to use a worn out building, residents will now be able to enjoy grilled food at city events.

That’s because the council voted 4-2 to buy a $1,799 commercial-grade grill from Lowe’s. The grill was requested by resident Billy Powell last year after Clayton County stopped letting the city borrow a county grill for events amidst an ongoing service delivery and tax dispute between the county and its seven cities.

Officials said city is still not able to borrow a grill even though the dispute with the county has been resolved. Councilman Wallace Norrington said the city should be able to get a 10 percent discount on the purchase price.

Wiggins and Councilwoman Pat Sebo voted against the purchase.