PRESTONSBURG – City council members tabled a motion to purchase two new police cars following a lengthy discussion over costs and procedures during Monday’s council meeting.
Prestonsburg Police Chief Larry Woods brought the resolution before the council. He stated that the current crop of cars are in bad shape, and that if one of two broke-down, officers would be without vehicles.
“What I’m asking for is two new cruisers. We are running at a bare minimum right now. If one goes down, I guess they’ll have to take mine or walk,” said Woods.
Woods said that after doing some research he found a deal though Freedom Dodge in Lexington to purchase two new 2015 Dodge Charger cruisers for $52,720.52. The new vehicles would also have to be painted, and Woods says that would come out of his budget. He said the vehicles could be purchased unequipped (no lights or push bar, or screen) for roughly $4000 less, but after looking into it, said that it would cost more to buy the equipment piece meal.
Councilman, Harry Adams, asked why the police were choosing to go away from Ford’s.
“Ford’s are more expensive,” said Woods. “I’m looking at cost effective. The Dodge’s. The state police are going to them. They’re cheaper. They’re easy to work on.”
“If were good on money, and Larry is our police chief. He is hired to know this stuff. If he says we need it, I’ll make the motion to let him get it,” said Councilman David Gearheart.
The council seemed universally in agreement that the police force needed new cruisers, however there was considerable discussion over whether or not they could make the purchase without seeking more bids, or advertising for the purchase.
The deal through Freedom Dodge would be a 48 month lease-purchase.
“I don’t understand what the difference is between this and a purchase,” said Councilman B.D. Nunnery.
“I’m all about saving money. The time is what I’m worried about,” said Woods noting that it was going to take considerable time once the purchase is made to get the cars ready for service.
“Legally I think your under an obligation to investigate to make sure that’s the lowest you can get… Its a department necessity that you are doing through your budget, but I think legally you have to investigate,” said the city’s attorney Jennifer Burke Elliott. “You all have to make sure that you do your due diligence.”
Elliott stated that because the city is not in an emergency, it has to go through the normal steps.
“This is why we fought so hard to do it right,” said Councilman Harry Adams referencing the council’s efforts to make sure nothing costing more than $20,000 is purchased without going through the appropriate steps.
Councilman David Gearheart made a motion to allow the purchase to go through, and then amended his motion to allow for the due diligence. However his motion was not acted upon.
Mayor Stapleton said that a special called meeting may need to be called in order to resolve the matter quickly.
Also during Monday’s meeting, Mayor Les Stapleton set up a committee to go through the applications which have come in the for the Fire Chief position. Stapleton said that the city had received applications from Wisconsin to Florida, and all across the nation.
Jackson Latta can be reached at (606) 886-8506