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Lawrence Police Push New Facility; Meeting Tonight


Next month, Lawrence voters will have to decide whether to approve a local sales tax increase to build a new police facility. Police Chief Tarik Khatib will speak tonight (THUR) and answer questions from the public about the new building. The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School (1400 Massachusetts Street).

The total cost of the proposed facility is nearly $26 million, mostly funded through a 0.20 percent increase in the sales tax. In essence, for every $10 spent in Lawrence, 2-cents would be dedicated to the Police Facility Sales Tax. If the Police Facility Sales Tax is approved, the sales tax rate in Lawrence will be 8.9 percent.

Chief Khatib says the new, centralized police center - which would be located east of the Hallmark Cards production center - is designed to provide the space the department will need for the next 20 years. Currently, the police department utilizes six different locations throughout the city for various requirements. Khatib says the new center is necessary to increase capacity and improve efficiency within the department.

Not all residents approve of the proposed facility and the sales tax needed to finance it. Lawrencians Against the New Police Headquarters is one group working to defeat the ballot question and maintains a Face Book page to express its opposition.

Meanwhile, the City of Lawrence maintains a webpage with freqently asked questions about the facility and the sales tax question on the ballot.

Lawrence voters will decide whether to approve the sales tax increase at the polls on November 4.

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