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Front Page » January 14, 2010 » Carbon County News » Condition of police vehicles reviewed by EC Council
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Condition of police vehicles reviewed by EC Council

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Sun Advocate reporter

A noticeable aspect of the East Carbon Police force are its Hummers which are used as police vehicles. They've been around for the last few years; however, as some of them are getting older, the city council is reviewing its options in terms of selling one and possibly purchasing a pickup truck to replace it.

"As we expected, Hummers are holding their value. If we can get $18 or $19,000 for one, that is unbelievable," said Mayor Orlando LaFontaine, during the meeting.

Police Chief Sam Leonard, who was present, presented the council with some of the bids he has received from car dealerships. One of the lowest was from Ken Garff Ford, which amounted to around $22,973 for an F150 XL. Another was from Tony Basso GM, for a GMC crew cab at around $34,000. Tony Basso also offered a few additional financing options.

According to Councilwoman Cheryl McFarland, in the past, the city has financed its vehicles through Zion's Bank. However, because the city is a government entity, Leonard indicated that dealerships are typically willing to accept flexible payment options.

Eventually, the issue was tabled to give council members an opportunity to review options. Still, a few questions remained.

"What does it cost to make a cop car out of one these?" asked Councilman David Avery.

According to Leonard, it can typically cost around $12 to $15,000 to outfit a police car. Because many parts can be salvaged from the Hummer before it's sold, that prospect could lower the costs by almost $7,000. Pickup trucks are being considered as possible replacements, because, according to the mayor, they can be switched out with the maintenance department once their useful life as a police vehicle runs out.

The council also honored Leonard for his 20 years of service in East Carbon. In addition, they agreed to allow him to accept a different retirement program, along with approving his 4 percent wage increase retroactively for 2010 year thus far.

"We really thank you. Working for the city this long is an achievement," said the mayor.

In honor of the chief, the council agreed to hold a party for him at city hall and approved $500 to pay for it. The police force has also agreed to work overtime at for an additional $5 per hour, as opposed to time and a half.

This was approved by the council, because the police have been operating one officer short, and the money has already been budgeted for the missing officer. Leonard also made it known that all the officers were in support of the overtime option.

In another issue involving the new public safety building, the city is looking into a $140,000 reimbursement due to the construction not meeting the city's specifications.

"We will still go after the architect for his screw ups. That's why we had an insurance bond," said Councilman Andy Urbanik, during the meeting.

The issue could result in a possible lawsuit, and details will be forthcoming as more information specifics are gained.

In a reverse of an earlier donation to the Boys and Girls club, the council voted to donate $300 instead of $1,000 to the organization on the basis that the city has never given more than $250 to other organizations.

"I was appalled that we gave them $1,000. I don't have a problem that we gave them some money, just not three times as much as we've given other programs," said Mayor LaFontaine during the meeting.

However Councilman Urbanik, who was in favor of the original donation, made it clear that he was not pleased with the city was backing out of the original decision.

"This was on the agenda they came and made a proposal to us and now we backing out? asked Urbanik.

The city makes its donations out of a budgeted line item set aside each year, however, it was also made known that the state has been looking into regulating municipality donations in the future.

Other donations made were $100 to the boy scouts and $50 for the East Carbon snow day.

The mayor also appointed Darrell Valdez as mayor pro-temp and James Wayman to oversee the maintenance department and then presented the council with plans to expand the city wellness center however, Councilman Valdez made it clear that he wants the mayor to let the council know about projects before he takes action on them.

"Let the city council know on projects, so that we can answer questions when people have them," said Valdez.

The meeting ended with an executive session for personnel issues.

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January 14, 2010
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