MERIDEN – City council is due to vote Tuesday on a proposal to lease 24 police and firefighters, starting from the current fiscal year, in a new program that officials say will allow the city to quickly modernize its fleet while saving money.
City manager Timothy Coon and CFO Kevin McNabola presented the proposed contract with Enterprise Fleet Management at a city council finance committee meeting on Wednesday.
For the police department, the city would rent 10 Ford 2021 all-wheel-drive patrol vehicles, six 2022 Chevrolet Malibu midsize cars for detectives, two 2022 Ford Escape SUVs, and a 2022 Ford F-150 pickup truck. For firefighters, the city would rent five. Ford F-150 2022 trucks.
According to a spreadsheet McNabola shared with members of the finance committee, the cost of purchasing and fitting out the vehicles would be $ 1,026,408. The cost of leasing the patrol vehicles for three years and the other vehicles for five years would be $ 991,673, a savings of almost $ 35,000, McNabola said.
City officials should modify the current five-year police and firefighter capital budgets to reflect rental expenses.
McNabola told members of the finance committee that leasing the patrol vehicles, which would be the most used, for three years, instead of five, would be “more economically beneficial to the city” due to the wear and tear of these vehicles. would suffer.
McNabola explained that officials were looking to replenish the police department’s fleet after last year, in which the city lost three police vehicles after being involved in serious crashes.
McNabola said at the start of talks with Enterprise that officials discussed the possibility of leasing 80 vehicles – including vehicles from the Parks and Public Works Department. McNabola noted that the city tends to retain its fleets and public works vehicles for periods well beyond five years. As such, it “didn’t make financial sense to consider leasing these vehicles,” he said.
But, police vehicles in particular depreciate rapidly, McNabola said.
“We thought it would be better to have a program where the PD is restocked with the very latest line of state-of-the-art vehicles every three to five years, instead of hanging on to something that could be a safety or liability issue. on the road, ”he said.
Members of the finance committee appeared to agree and ultimately voted unanimously on a resolution recommending that the entire board enter into the leases.
Deputy Mayor Michael Cardona observed that the city has been unable to restock police cars under its current procurement program.
“This rental program with police vehicles is the way to go,” Cardona said. “I’m not so sure it would be smart city scale.
Finance committee member Dan Brunet had questions about one of the lease terms presented to the committee. It included a mileage limit of 15,000 miles per year.
“What do we expect from this? And what is the cost if we go beyond that? Brunet asked.
McNabola and Coon said this issue was addressed during discussions with Enterprise.
Coon said city officials had been told the kilometer component was “unlimited and there would be no problem.”
He said the lease presented to the committee was his “first draft” and that “there were still a few things left on the lease that were the subject of various legal discussions.”
Later in the week, Kevin Maloney, spokesperson for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, said it was not uncommon for municipalities to lease city or town-owned vehicles. He does not know of any cities that have large rental plans involving public safety vehicles.
“It certainly looks like Meriden is looking to innovate. This improves profitability and would help reduce the costs to the city of a large fleet of public safety vehicles, ”said Maloney. “Cities are always looking for ways to cut costs and provide the level of service they need. I think Meriden should be commended for reviewing this.
[email protected]: @MikeGagneRJ