NEWPORT CITY – The Newport City Council Monday scrambled to sign a resolution for the police department’s new 2013 Ford Interceptor cruisers – both of them, even though the council had initially approved the purchase or lease of only one.
“We need to approve it because the police cars have already been delivered,” said city manager John Ward Jr. “They were ordered in January.”
The department also had to order a new cage for the cruisers because the existing ones don't fit the new cruisers.
The cars will cost the city $54,000. At the end of a three-year lease, the city will be able to purchase the cruisers.
The police department ended up with one more cruiser than what was in the budget, which was a mistake, said Ward. However, the city needs both cruisers, he added, because neither the 2008 Chevrolet Impala nor the 2007 Ford are road worthy.
“We can find the money in the budget to cover the extra cost by cutting some other expense,” said Ward.
The city will need about $5,000 more to make up the difference. “At some point in time, we’ll come and ask for a budget adjustment.”
The adjustment would be to change allocation and not a spending increase.
The council didn’t take the extra cruiser lightly. Mayor Paul Monette told Ward to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“You don’t need to say that,” said Ward. The car, said Ward, was ordered even though he issued a memo at the beginning of the year that states no capital equipment was to be ordered without his approve. “Sometimes that’s life, nothing I can do about it. It was done and they’ve been delivered. We need them. We have to take them. Hopefully it won’t happen again.”
The cars were outfitted and painted before the mayor signed the resolution, said Alderman Tim de la Bruere. He also said the council declined former Chief J. Paul Duquette’s request to buy two cruisers.
The city should have taken Duquette’s advice when he asked for a new cruiser in 2010, Ward said. Ward also said Duquette was under the impression he had approval for two cruisers.
The city will sell the old cruisers, but doesn’t expect it will receive much money for them.
“By the time we’re done with them, they’re not road worthy,” said Ward. “They need lots of work. The engines have been used pretty hard.”