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Mount Pleasant police officers are expected to take their first shots in the department’s new firing range in April.
Trustees Monday approved 5-1 building the range for an amount not to exceed $550,000, but the final bill should be much less. The winning bid of $496,367 was from Katt Construction of Racine.
Money to outfit the range is coming from $125,000 in impact fees, winnings from a shooting contest, and $75,000 from SC Johnson. An internal loan of up to $350,000 from the village’s sewer utility will round out the necessary funding and will be paid back within seven years at zero interest.
Savings are expected to run about $20,000 annually in overtime because MPPD officers won’t need to use off-duty hours to maintain their firearm certification. Police Chief Tim Zarzecki said he has commitments from neighboring police departments to rent the range and has heard from regional and federal agencies as well.
“The fees we’ll charge will be a on a per-officer-per-day schedule and that money will pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the firing range so those costs are not put on the taxpayers of the village,” he told the board.
Trustee Gary Feest was the lone “nay” vote, and he said he dissented because when the new village hall was built, the board then promised taxpayers that construction costs would not be borne by them.
“It’s not that I don’t think the firing range is necessary because I do. My issue is … that the board in 2010 promised that no taxpayer money would be used to complete the range,” he said. “I will vote no because I mean to keep that promise, but I have nothing against the police department or the shooting range.”
Village President Mark Gleason said he thinks the internal loan is smart business and completing the firing range is matter of public and police officer safety.
“Not all the money for the range is borrowed, but using an internal loan is smart business,” he said. “The safety of the public and police officers is paramount. The taxpayers of Mount Pleasant are getting an exceptional value.”
Work on the range will most likely start after the holidays and is expected to take about 90 days. Mount Pleasant police Capt. Brian Smith said he expects officers to start using it sometime in April.