Chief of Police Reuben Shortnacy is nothing if not persistent. Six years of pushing have finally paid off: in the California state budget, Corcoran has been awarded approximately $3.85 million to construct a new police department building.
That money alone will not get the job done; the original request was for $6 million. However, that is not stopping the team that put the state request in place. Aided by City Manager Kindon Meik, members of the city council and Cris Com (the city’s lobbying firm) the police chief made numerous trips to Sacramento to argue the local case. Shortnacy is now on the hunt for the remainder of the funds to get the job done.
Assemblymember Rudy Salas and Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle also played pivotal roles in capturing the much-needed state funding. Salas wrote the appropriations bill that helped several Kings County law enforcement agencies.
“I have worked tirelessly with local law enforcement to secure vital funding resources for the Central Valley in the budget and with the Governor’s signature, we will finally see that funding delivered to our communities,” said Salas. “the $5 million for public safety infrastructure in the Kings County cities will enable law enforcement agencies to better serve the public and ultimately, keep us safe.”
Salas originally requested $7.85 million for Kings County, but Governor Brown’s eagle eye caught the relatively small amount in the $117 billion budget and took a red pen to it. As a result, Corcoran got the $3.85 million instead of the $6 million and projects in Lemoore and Avenal saw similar percentage reductions. Lemoore had asked for funding for a new dispatch center (approximately $1.5 million) and Avenal wanted about $400,000 for a new emergency operations center.
Although the funding fell short of the request, Shortnacy is happy to receive it.
“It’s a start,” he said. “Public safety infrastructure improvements have been a priority for many years. This funding will get our project off the ground.”
While Shortnacy has been working on this project for many years, he credits the team that has been in place for the last two years for finally making construction of a new police department a distinct reality. Corcoran joined with both Avenal and Lemoore, as well as a host of local, county and state team members to puch the project through committee, then the entire legislatures and finally, to the Governor’s desk.
Meik said the city is currently looking at several options that may prove useful in filling the necessary gap in construction costs. He said he’s optimistic and confident the city will be able to leverage the state allocation with other monies to complete the project in the near future.
Engineering and design have already been completed for the new structure, which would be located due east of the current police department building. That was done in anticipation of providing a “shovel ready” project in 2009 for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Shortnacy noted that at that time, he did not realize such a project, in an underserved, rural community in the Central San Joaquin Valley did not stand much of a chance of being approved.
As the economy continued to stagnate, city coffers tightened and no money was available to pursue the project. Then the state budget started to improve and the Corcoran team sensed a potential opening.Shortnacy said the state funding provides a real win for Corcoran. Meik is similarly excited.
“Building this facility will not only be good for the police department, but good for the entire community,” he noted.
Such construction would bring 100 or more jobs to Corcoran for about a year. Additionally, the new building will be both green (with solar additions) and drought friendly (with water conservation and use of recycled water). The building will also provide additional records storage space and an emergencyoperations center that can be used by the public.