by Jonathan Weaver
Ford City Borough Police is one step closer to swapping out two police cars in its fleet.
Last night, Borough Council approved the purchase of vehicle identification numbers for two 2009 Dodge Chargers from Plum Borough for $5,000.
Borough Manager Eden Ratliff test-drove the vehicles late last week, and said the two unmarked vehicles have run 107,000 and 120,000 miles, respectively.
“It’s not always the years and the amount of miles, but how well the cars were taken care of,” Ratliff relayed from Interim Police Chief Johnathan Freel. “These vehicles in Plum received oil changes every 2,000 miles (and) regular maintenance from two in-house mechanics.”
These police cars have been well taken care of.”
One vehicle is all black while another has a black-and-white color scheme.
Both Interim Police Chief Freel and Ratliff were hopeful to have one or both of the vehicles road-ready next month.
Councilwoman Beth Bowser made the motion to pay for the two vehicles.
“We have to depend on our automobiles to respond to calls – two out of three in our fleet have transmission problems, so we figured it was an inexpensive way and a quality choice for the money (Plum Borough) is asking for to keep our police department in-service,” Bowser said.
“I think it’s a very good financial deal to make. They are more secure in terms of reliability than the ones in our current fleet.”
Bowser said these deals are also a good indicator Chief Freel is off to a good start.
“He’s very excited – he’s made a world of changes already in such a short amount of time. Needed changes,” Bowser said.
Councilwoman – and Police Committee chair – Vicki Schaub opposed the purchase.
“I don’t think we had time to really search (the vehicles) out as far as seeing all the records on the cars,” Schaub said. “I didn’t like the high mileage. Yes, the cars we have are pretty beat and weren’t taken care of, and I wonder if these were taken care of. I’d rather see us sell two or three cars and get a new car.”
Newly-elected Councilman Tyson Klukan also had concerns. He hoped all financial figures were available, unlike some items in Ratliff’s report.
“We would have to purchase the decals separately – which is something we’re looking into,” Ratliff said. “It does not coming with the LED (light) package or siren package – that will also have to be purchased separately and put inside the cars.”
Both vehicles will also need to be inspected, and the purchase will need to be approved by Plum Borough.
The vehicles will replace two existing police vehicle that will go out-for-bid: including an unmarked white Crown Victoria with 160,000 miles and a Crown Victoria police vehicle that has run about 90,000 miles.
The white Crown Victoria is currently driven regularly by Ordinance Enforcement Officer Michele Meixelberger.
Both vehicles have had transmission problems.
According to the municipality’s webpage, Plum Borough Police t is comprised of 26 full-time police officers, including a Chief of Police, a Lieutenant, six Sergeants, two detectives, two School Resource Officers, and a K-9. The Department also has a three member civilian support staff which includes a police records administrator and two police records clerks.
As per a different motion, council members will also pay for global positioning systems for all three Ford City Police vehicles at an unknown cost.
A meeting on the upcoming 2016 budget will be held this Friday morning at the Borough office.
Council members approved to advertise the 16.65 mill tax ordinance last night via a 3-2 vote.
Schaub and Council Vice-President Jerry Miklos opposed the motion.
The tax ordinance calls for a .75 mill tax decrease