Crothersville Town Council approves ARPA funds for police vehicles


CROTHERSVILLE — Problems with police cars prompted Crothersville Police Department leaders to pursue quotes for new vehicles.

“We’ve been having some pretty bad trouble with our vehicles,” Assistant Chief Jonathon Tabor told the Crothersville Town Council during a recent meeting.

He’s referring to the department’s 2017 Ford Explorers.

“We still have one in the shop. We got one back (June 5),” he said. “The prognosis wasn’t very good, and the bills are starting to get quite expensive. One that’s currently down would be about a $6,000 fix. The other one is still pending. We don’t even know yet.”

The department reached out to John Jones in Salem to get quotes for two new Dodge Durangos.

“However, we were told that the ones they have ordered, if they are going to earmark two of them, we have to know now,” Tabor said before asking the council for approval to purchase the Durangos.

The council then reacted when seeing the price: $68,859. That quote was good until June 15.

“It’s within range of the ones we just bought. It’s pretty close,” Clerk-Treasurer Danieta Foster said, referring to the police department’s trucks.

Tabor said Chief Matt Browning had talked to some people who upfit police cars to see if that would save any money.

“It was actually right there with what it would be if we bought a plain Jane car and had it upfitted from somewhere else,” he said.

Foster said the trucks were purchased by the town and are on a loan. The current balance is $93,361.16. With Explorers previously used by the department, she said they were paid off and bought for $1.

Councilman Jamy Greathouse said the council needs to come up with a long-term solution and get into an annual rotation of replacing police vehicles so the department doesn’t end up with several aging vehicles at once.

“The reason that the municipal lease works better is because you’ve built in that payment, so when you start the rotation, you’re not missing anything,” he said. “One is falling off the lease. One’s coming on. You build that budget out.”

Because of the nearly $70,000 purchase price of the vehicles, he said loans are between seven and 10 years.

“Your payments are lower, but you’re paying more interest, and you’re not able to set that budget because that rate varies from year to year,” Greathouse said.

“That’s why we have to be careful in how we look at doing that because again, we don’t want to throw another Band-Aid on it. We want to come up with that long-term solution. We want to come up with that four-year rotation to budget those payments so that we start that one every year and we know we can afford that and keep that going,” he said.

Foster said if they get the Durangos and use some of the town’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, that may jump-start the rotation.

Greathouse then made a motion to use ARPA funds to pay off the town’s existing vehicle loans for the police department to obtain the two new vehicles. Vice President Terry Richey seconded, and it was unanimously approved 5-0.

Also during the meeting, another spending request from the police department received unanimous approval.

That was to buy two new mobile vehicle-mounted radios for the new police cars at a cost of $2,698.27 apiece. Tabor said he asked the county’s 911 board to purchase one and was asking the council to buy the other one.

The council accepted the quote from VEI Communications contingent upon the 911 board buying one of the radios.

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