Talk continues over Lightner Center

RALEIGH In May, council members directed City Manager Russell Allen to work with the City's project architectural and engineering design team on alternate design options for the safety center.

The report presented to the council on Tuesday also includes a risk and security assessment on the public safety center project.

Under its original design, the Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center would consist of 16 stories and approximately 302,000 square feet on the corner of Hargett and McDowell streets.

Sitting on what is currently the site of the City of Raleigh Police Department headquarters; the public safety center would consolidate the City's public safety operations and other local government offices and functions in one location.

As for cost, it turns out the building, as designed, would be the least expensive option.

The mayor of Raleigh points out that low interest rates could also save the City money if it moves quickly.

Nothing was voted on during the meeting, but the city council will resume discussion of the project on June 21.

Also on Tuesday, the city manager told the city council that the City of Raleigh could issue $135 million of limited obligation bonds toward construction of the Lightner Public Safety Center without having to raise the City's property tax rate.

On March 2, the city council voted 4-4 on a plan that would have increased the City's property tax rate by $0.01 in the 2011-12 fiscal year to finance the public safety center and the remote operations facilities. The proposal failed as at least five votes are needed for approval.

The only point of consensus on the council is that the debate has gone on long enough.

The public safety center would be named in honor of the late Clarence E. Lightner, who served as mayor of Raleigh from 1973-75.

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