New Hub City leaders look to lower cost of Public Safety Complex

New Hub City leaders look to lower cost of Public Safety Complex
Hattiesburg public safety complex. Source: WDAM

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Plans for the Hattiesburg Public Safety Complex are still on the table, but with new administration taking over in the Hub City, the process won't be moving as quick.

Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said his team is working to get up to speed on the project, and what's needed for the city.

"Our team is currently being brought up to speed on the project, this has been a project that's been discussed for five years or longer at this point," said Barker.

Originally, the project started out with a price tag of roughly $25 million, and ballooned to nearly $40 million. With costs varying for materials and other costs for the temporary police facility located on Klondye Street.

"We want to make sure that our men and women have the best possible facility while making sure our tax payers can afford it, and that we're not going into ah any sort of long term debt that is going to be overly burdensome to the city," said Barker.

Hattiesburg City Councilmen, Nick Ward and Jeffrey George were both in agreement with Barker.

"Mainly just make everything cost effective, as best as we can, we definitely don't need to overspend, I know the numbers have grown since the project first came along," said Ward 5 Councilman, Nick Brown. "That's the main thing, stay in the budget…spend the citizens and tax payer's money the correct way."

"We need to continue to look into that project, but definitely re-evaluate things, to ensure that we can keep the cost low and do something that our city can afford," said Ward 1 Councilman, Jeffrey George. "It's something that we need to ensure that our police officers have the best facilities and have the resources they need to be successful."

Another goal, for the future complex, is to be a staple for the area along Edwards Street, which is the proposed site.

"We also want to make sure that that side of Edwards Street particularly post tornado, that we set that place up to succeed because that facility will anchor that street," said Barker.

Barker said the most important part of the project, is spending the tax dollars appropriately.

"The goal is to build a quality facility in a way that can be afforded by the tax payers," said Barker. "We're going to look at everything, we have to get back to basics and the basic premise of the project to begin with was to make sure we built a quality police station for our men and women and that's what we are going to focus on first and foremost."