WILLIAMSON – At Thursday’s regular meeting, Williamson City Council approved a motion to purchase four new cruisers for the Williamson Police Department (WPD) using grant funding and money the city set aside for police equipment.
Williamson Police Chief Barry Blair approached the council to provide an update concerning a grant obtained to purchase new police cruisers. Blair stated, “I have given everyone a copy of a proposal. Just to refresh your memories, the police department had applied for a $47,500 police grant for new cruisers. The grant has already been approved by council in a prior council meeting. We need to make a decision as to whether or not we are going to use the entire grant or part of the grant. I need to have a decision so I can contact the USDA tomorrow morning (Friday) or we are going to lose the grant.”
Blair continued stating, “I also have a proposal here that have installment payments if we were going to buy four cruisers or two cruisers. We do have money in a particular ordinance that the council and mayor have passed around April of this year. It does have money in it. We could use it in order to make an additional down payment on the cars.”
John Hall with the WPD was also in attendance at meeting. Hall requested to offer additional explanation on proposal to the Mayor and Council. “What this is mayor and council; this is a proposal for an equation on the police fleet up there on 2017 Ford Intercepts. I have been in contact these past few weeks with the police chief and Stevens Auto. If you look on the second page, this is an email for him. It says, these are the various scenarios for financing four cars with $78,500 as a down payment… If you go on to the fifth page, it provides a breakdown. If you take the $47,500 and add $31,000 out of our police equipment fund and put that toward the down payment on four cars, you are only going to be financing $56, 828 for four brand new cars… That is going to be a savings of almost $7,000. “
Blair continued the discussion and explained that one benefit of purchasing the new cruisers would be savings in the cost of maintenance. “Our maintenance cost in the past two previous years has been $10,000 to $20,000. The payments on the cars would be somewhat between that neighborhood and that would reduce a lot of the maintenance we have incurred on our vehicles because a lot of our vehicles are worn out. They have a lot of mileage on them; we have had transmission and engine issues with some of the vehicles because they have so many miles on them… We could use the maintenance money that we save and put toward the cost of these cars. ”
The discussion continued, focusing on the various financing scenarios presented in the proposal provided to mayor and council by Chief Blair. Council also discussed option two of the proposal which would provide the WPD with two new cruisers instead of four.
Following discussion, Councilwoman Sherri Hairston-Brown made a motion to approve the purchase of four cruisers. Hairston-Brown stated, “I approve the purchase of four cruisers on a six month semiannual payment at the rate of 5.25 percent and $8,444.38 as outlined in your proposal.” Councilman York Smith seconded the motion.
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)