Middletown looks into purchasing new town office
MIDDLETOWN – Town Council floated the idea of purchasing a new town office and police station at its committee meeting Tuesday night.
Given the new-found steam behind the Village of Middletown project, a potential development of 180 single-family units in town, town officials said they need more space to anticipate the town’s population boom.
Several town councilmembers, along with Middletown Police Chief Phillip Breeden, said because the town and the police share the building, quarters are cramped, filing space is limited, and four police officers share one desk upstairs.
“The citizens of Middletown deserve a central location on Main Street, where everyone can see us,” Breeden said.
Town Hall and the police station are located on Church Street, one block east of Main Street. Town Manager Rebecca Layman said she has fielded calls from several area residents who can’t find the town office.
Breeden also offered the idea of a short-term (less than five-year) lease on a new police station on Main Street to temporarily free up space in Town Hall for town officials, while gaining both office space and visibility for the police station.
In a follow-up interview, Breeden said he’s found three potential locations to lease, although a price has not yet been discussed.
Although all councilmembers agreed they’d like to see more information about the prospect of a new town office, Mayor Charles Harbaugh was more hesitant. He said although the town is in solid financial shape at the moment, it was less than a decade ago when the town was near dire straits.
He said the town should hold off on a new building at least until ground is broken on the new units.
“We need to make sure our finances are in order, and not just add on to our expenses because we think future billings are coming,” he said.
Moving forward from the meeting, Layman was assigned to round up a five-year needs and cost projections plan from the town’s department heads to determine if the new building is both necessary and feasible. Meanwhile, Breeden is set to look for available properties for the police on Main Street.
Town Council’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 11.
Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137, ext. 152, or firstname.lastname@example.org.