Council to consider buying Dodge patrol car

October 17, 2008

The Sedalia City Council is expected to accept a bid for a new police patrol car, and hear a presentation about becoming a member of Tree City USA on Monday.

The council is scheduled to meet in a work session at 6:30 p.m., then in committee meetings at 6:45 p.m. Both will take place in the mayor’s conference room in City Hall, 200 S. Osage Ave. The council is set to convene in chambers at 7 p.m. All meetings are open to the public.

The council is expected to take up a recommendation from Police Chief John DeGonia to buy a 2009 Dodge Police Charger from Bryant Motors for $22,183. The Charger would replace one of four patrol cars scheduled for replacement. Council previously approved the purchase of three 2009 Ford Crown Victoria cars from Joe Machens Ford in Columbia for $68,000 (about $22,600 each).

Ford is expected to discontinue the Crown Victoria police cars in 2010 or 2011. DeGonia said the department is looking for a replacement model. The city purchased a Dodge Charger in February 2008 for the police chief to drive and test.

“It worked out good, but we want to get one in patrol now and see what kind of maintenance it will need or if it may have any problems,” DeGonia said. “We want to know what to expect before deciding whether to order more or deciding what to do with the fleet.”

DeGonia said he is recommending the bid from Bryant, which is about $2,900 more than the other bid from St. Louis dealer Don Brown Automotive. Don Brown bid about $19,300.

DeGonia recommended the Bryant Motors because “during this trial process it’s a lot easier to work with and discuss problems” with a local dealer.

“And we’ve kept our purchase local, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone,” he said.

Patrol cars are driven nearly around the clock, seven days a week. The heavy use can be hard on the vehicles.

“It’s not like a family car,” DeGonia said.

That’s why each year the department replaces one-third of its 11 patrol cars. Cars used for two to three years can rack up as much as 60,000 miles.

DeGonia anticipated the Charger, with its six-cylinder engine, could save the department money on fuel. The Crown Victorias get 10 to 11 miles per gallon, and it the Charger gets about 14 to 15 miles per gallon “it could be several thousands of dollars in savings,” DeGonia said.

Other items on the agenda include a presentation during the work session about Tree City USA, a program that “provides direction, technical assistance, public attention and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs,” according to the group’s Web site.

Tree City USA designees are eligible for grants that could be used to help the city care for the trees in the public right of way.

“We have trees located in the public right of way that play a key role in the character of the community,” said City Administrator Keith Riesberg.

Tree-lined neighborhoods also tend to have a greater market value, Riesberg said.

In other business, the council is expected to award $3,400 to Schultz Wrecking Service, of Sedalia, to demolish an abandoned home at 317 E. St. Louis.