FRUITLAND - The City of Fruitland is asking voters to approve a $2.8 million bond that would build an entirely new police department and make renovations to City Hall including roof replacement, parking, HVAC, IT and lighting updates. The bond is on the Tuesday, May 19 ballot.

The current police department is housed in the back of City Hall which is approximately 1000 square feet with roughly 550 square feet of office space shared between 14 police officers. The original City Hall was constructed in 1974 and has been retrofitted to accommodate the growth of the community over time. According to the City of Fruitland Police Department, call volume in the last 20 years has increased by 286 percent. As Fruitland continues to grow, additional police officers and staff have been hired in the last 20 years to help with that growth.

“Right now, we have three to five officers sharing a single workspace at a time,” says Police Chief JD Huff. “It makes it difficult to perform the duties of their job in an efficient and organized way. We are doing our best with what we have, but privacy and efficiency are major concerns for our officers who deal with sensitive information every day.”

In 2019, the City of Fruitland placed a similar bond on the November ballot with 66.5 percent of voters supporting the measure. After a recount, Payette County determined the measure was just eight votes shy of a 66.6 percent super majority to pass the measure.

“After talking to voters around the community we determined there were still people who chose not to vote or had existing questions related to why this was needed,” City Council President Stuart Grimes said. “With a vote that close, we felt we owed it to our community and our hard-working officers to clarify those details and ask voters again. We take pride in our community and our police department. I firmly believe that our low crime rate and overall feeling of security in our city as a testament to Chief Huff and Fruitland officers’ dedication to their duties. We’ve grown dramatically in the past several years and the fact is, we simply have outgrown our facilities. In the end, we are hopeful that we can provide the much-needed space, but either way we will respect the wised of our electorate.”

With novel coronavirus COVID-19 concerns, Secretary of State Lawrence Denny announced that all primary elections in Idaho were to be done by mail ballot and extended the deadline to June 2. Idaho voters have until Tuesday, May 19 to register to vote and request their mail-in (absentee) ballot, which can both be done online at https://idahovotes.gov/absentee-voter-information/Voters can also call their county clerk’s office and request a ballot over the phone.

Additional information on the bond, including the projects, funding and the history of the department can be found at Fruitlandbond.org

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