Dunnellon Police Chief concerned over mold, termites at HQ, calls on City Council to approve location change

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 6:10 PM EST
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DUNNELLON, Fla. (WCJB) - The Dunnellon Police Department needs a new facility. Police Chief Mike McQuaig said the current building is more than 57 years old and has a lot of issues.

As it stands, officers and staff members have to deal with issues like mold, termites, and snakes.

“The last time that we had the termites we had them drill holes in the walls to spray for the termites that afternoon and then at four o’clock that morning, one of my officers was doing a report and a snake came out of the room where they had sprayed in the wall for termites,” McQuaig said.

McQuaig said he had a building inspector take a look at the property two weeks ago and confirmed that there was mold in and around the building. He then called in a mold expert who determined that there was mold that could be cleaned, but that’s not the only problems officers have faced while working in the building.

The department’s IT system is housed in different parts of the building, and there are also exposed wires.

“I would say that it’s an emergency situation, yes. In my opinion, the officers need a place where they can work without having all of these distractions so to speak and have a place where they can come and not only that, some place that we and the citizens of Dunnellon can be proud of,” McQuaig said.

And he’s hoping the City Council will vote to approve the change.

The two options that McQauig has presented to the council are, to retrofit a church building the city recently purchased, which could cost somewhere between a half of a million to a million dollars.

While if they moved police department to City Hall and moved city hall employees to the new location, it’s estimated to be roughly 250,000 dollars.

“The previous City Council has bought a building. It’s a church but it’s very suitable for the police department. They’ve already purchased it. However, in my new role as Chief of Police with additional duties as the City Administrator temporarily, the newly elected city council had some questions so I gave them an alternative, we could either move to city hall and city hall could move to the new building but it’s something they need to talk about,” he said.

If the location change is approved, McQauig said he’s looking at a few different options to pay for the transition.

“If it’s a capital expense, we can use the One Cent Sales Tax, which most of this would be a capital expense so we could use part of the One Cent Sales Tax, which we have been saving some of that,” he said.

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He added that some of the funding could come from the budget, and there could be the possibility of apply for different grants or even a low interest rate loan.

But the one thing he wants to make sure residents know, “The main thing is that I’ve looked into, whatever building that we put up, there will be no additional taxes for the citizens of Dunnellon,” McQuaig said.

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