By Tammy Gray
Two new police vehicles purchased this fiscal year will ease budget constraints in the upcoming year, according to Holbrook City Manager Ray Alley.
City council members unanimously approved the purchase of the vehicles during a meeting Tuesday evening. The 2016 Dodge Ram four-wheel drive pickup trucks will replace two aging Dodge Durango SUVs.
Chief of Police Mark Jackson explained that he elected to purchase pickup trucks for two main reasons. The first is that the department needs a certain number of four-wheel drive vehicles in service in order to efficiently access all areas of the city, including dirt back roads where cars can become stuck or damaged. The second reason is that once the police department is done with the trucks, they can be turned over to other city departments for continued use.
Jackson told the council that he has spent a significant amount of time researching and negotiating prices, and the best price he obtained was $76,163.28 for both trucks from Tate Ford in Holbrook.
The trucks will be outfitted as complete police vehicles, including a cage divider that will allow officers to safely transport individuals who have been taken into custody. The cost of the specialized equipment is $11,128.30. Jackson explained that he plans to order the equipment directly and then have it professionally installed in order to reduce costs.
“It will save about $2,000 doing it that way,” he remarked.
Councilman Myron Maxwell questioned whether the warranties for the equipment would remain in effect if they were ordered from one company and installed by another.
Jackson assured the council that the warranties would be the same either way, except that the city may have to deal directly with the manufacturer rather than the installer in order to make a warranty claim.
Finance Director Randy Sullivan told the council that the purchase of the vehicles was not included in the current budget, but there are funds available due to cost savings throughout the year. He noted that the money would most likely come from unspent jail fees.
“We have enough money in the budget to make the purchase this year, and that will help the budget for next year,” he noted.
According to Sullivan, staff had intended to budget for at least two new police vehicles in the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1. With approval of the purchase this year, the funds that would have gone toward vehicles next year can be used for other items.
The two major items that staff hope to purchase with the shift in funds are new golf carts for the municipal course, and a new heater and sand filter for the swimming pool. Approximately $25,000 would be set aside for golf carts and just under $50,000 for the pool equipment.
In addition to approving the purchase of the police vehicles and related equipment, council members approved a tentative budget that includes the new golf carts and pool filter.