City council approves new police cars

Published 10:33pm Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Selma Police Department will soon be riding around in style. 

The city council unanimously approved purchasing three Ford Explorers at a total cost of $111,000 from the half-cent sales tax fund. The vehicles will be purchased through Stivers Ford Lincoln Mercury, who has secured the statewide bid contract for the vehicles.

The police department also solicited bids from local car dealers, but the bids didn’t fall within a necessary 3 percent. The next lowest bid was $116,167 from Moore-Stewart Ford. Moore-Stewart’s bid didn’t fall within the necessary 3 percent, which would have allowed the police department to purchase its cars from the local dealership.

“We wanted to make sure we gave the local companies an option to compete, but we couldn’t purchase the SUVs locally because of state law” Selma Chief of Police William Riley said.

The cars will be paid for over a three-year period. In a fourth year, the department will pay $1 and complete the purchase. Riley said the vehicles should arrive in Selma by the end of May. The vehicles will be outfitted with a police package, which includes, among other things, a specially designed suspension to prvent the SUVs from rolling over.

The Selma Police Department last received new police cruisers in 2010 as a part of Selma’s $12 million bond issue. Riley said the department was able to purchase enough cars to replace half of its fleet, or seven cars at the time.

In its current state, the police department is forced to use some vehicles during the day and night shift according to Riley. The double usage racks up mileage quickly. It can also create expensive repair bills, Riley said.

“Our goal is to have a separate vehicle for each officer so we don’t have to run them constantly,” he said.

In other news from the meeting:

  • The council approved the Planning and Development Office to spend $15,000 on a park on Broad Street.

The area is hidden behind a façade that reads Cahaba furniture on the front. The approved money would be used for landscaping, according to Selma Mayor George Evans.

  • The council also approved a measure to remove $60,000 from the summer youth employment program to pay for tax software.

It’s the second and final payment on the software, which costs $120,000.

City tax collector Kim Lewis said the software is an application that allows the tax and license department to record incoming revenue.

  • The council also approved Councilwoman Susan Keith as a voting delegate for the Alabama League of Municipalities Official Business Session on May 5 in Mobile. Councilwoman Angela Benjamin is the alternate for the trip.

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