Bexley City Council Tuesday night voted 5-1 to appropriate $6.6-million from the general fund to pay for the construction of the new Bexley police facility.

Bexley City Council Tuesday night voted 5-1 to appropriate $6.6-million from the general fund to pay for the construction of the new Bexley police facility.

Council member Robyn Jones said the money would be reimbursed to the general fund when the cost of the project is bonded. The bond will be retired with general fund money in the next 20 to 30 years.

"This ordinance allows us to move forward with the process of bidding for the new police station," Jones said.

Police Chief Larry Rinehart has said he hopes to break ground on the facility by Sept. 1.

"We're very much on track, especially with your vote tonight," Rinehart said, adding that the construction documents should be complete in July, which will allow the project to go out to bid.

"By the beginning of August, we should know who is going to build the PD," Rinehart said.

The facility will cover about 19,700 square feet and is estimated to cost about $6-million, which includes building the facility to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

The certification requires buildings to use processes and materials that promote environmental sustainability, officials have said. It includes highly efficient heating and cooling systems and interior building materials that are healthy for the people who occupy the building.

The city recently entered a contract to purchase the land at 2771 Delmar Drive on which to build the facility. The city will pay $320,000 for the 1.638-acre lot.

Rinehart has said the current facility, built in the 1950s as a fire station, is inadequate for police department needs.

"In my mind, the safety and police department in this community is so critical that whatever we have to do to break ground on that PD is well worth it," Rinehart said. "It's critical for recruiting, retention, professional development, the entire well-being of the agency -- five, 10, 20 years from now."

Council president Matt Lampke voted against the appropriation.

"This is a great project and very much needed for our officers as well as for our residents," Lampke said. "I won't be able to vote for this bond tonight ... because I think this financing without the assistance of outside monies will bankrupt the city and hold our voters hostage to a tax increase at an earlier time then they would want."

Lampke said last autumn he wanted to seek voter approval for a bond to pay for the facility rather than retire the debt with general fund money.

Council member Mark Masser was out of town and did not attend the meeting.

In other business, council:

Tabled the sale of the city-owned Tree Nursery, a 2.8-acre site near North Parkview and Caroline avenues.

Approved appropriating $60,000 from the general fund to pay for fuel for city vehicles and equipment. The unbudgeted appropriation is because of the rising cost of fuel, officials said.

Passed an emergency appropriation of $40,000 from the general fund to purchase a new recording system for the police department. Rinehart said the old system recently dropped recordings of two 911 calls.