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If the Sacramento Police Department headquarters moves from Freeport Boulevard to Richards Boulevard, it could save $500,000 per year, but with it comes an up-front moving cost of $1 million, according to a report released Wednesday afternoon.
This would force other city departments – community development, parking services and code enforcement – to relocate from the building at 300 Richards Blvd. to City Hall, according to City Councilman Steve Cohn.
The idea stems from the Police Department, which has been looking at moving its headquarters from the Public Safety Center on Freeport Boulevard for the past three years to save money, police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said.
Being closer to the central city gives the Police Department numerous benefits, Leong added.
The proximity to downtown would allow police to cut gasoline costs for business conducted with the courthouses or the city, and it would be more centralized to the whole city, which would make it more convenient for the community to come for business with reports, citations, fingerprinting and similar activities.
Cohn added that it’s only feasible if there is a net savings, as the city faces a $39 million budget gap for the coming fiscal year. (To read about the budget, click here, and for more information, click on the "Storyline" tab in the linked article.)
“If we can save that kind of money, I think we need to do it,” Cohn said. “Whatever we can do to prevent layoffs, I’d support, but only if it’s an overall savings.”
With a continued structural imbalance with the general fund – having more expenses than revenue – the long-term savings are attractive, but the initial hit to the general fund would add to the current crisis.
“The costs to move would come out of the general fund,” said city spokeswoman Amy Williams. “Any savings we get later on would help the general fund.”
That move would not save any money in the coming fiscal year.
“No savings could be achieved, however, in FY2011/12 given the time needed for evaluation and implementation and the initial costs for moving,” according to the report.
Moving the majority of police operations to Richards Boulevard would fill the entire building, which would mean the other departments have to move.
Cohn said there is room at City Hall to accommodate them, but there isn’t a final plan as to where they would go yet.
“It’s taking a while to figure out all the logistics,” he said.
According to the report, a more detailed analysis will be delivered to the City Council at a later date.
A City Council budget meeting involving multiple city departments – including police, fire and parks – will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the council chambers in City Hall, 915 I St.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.