Marion City Police Chief Tyler Mermis asked the city council at its Monday meeting for an additional $16,500 to buy two used Dodge Chargers instead of one new vehicle as first requested in the 2013 budget.
By a unanimous vote, the council approved the proposal.
In explaining why there is a need for two vehicles rather than one, Mermis said there are now five officers.
“We are now full staffed,” he said.
Originally, Mermis was asking for $24,000 to buy one new Dodge Charger in 2013.
However after looking at the options, Mermis said he and Assistant Chief Clinton Jeffrey discovered it would be cheaper to buy two Dodge Chargers.
“One of the Chargers is a 2011 model with 30,918 miles at $21,999 and the other is a 2009 model with 24,086 at $18,499,” he said.
The total cost for the two used vehicles would be $40,498 as compared to more than $52,000 for two new Dodge Chargers.
“It would save the city of Marion over $11,502,” Mermis said.
The two vehicles are at Bonham Chrysler in Bonham, Texas, he said.
“If we would use the Kansas Highway Patrol to buy patrol vehicles, we would be spending more for the vehicles and the vehicles would have higher mileage,” he said.
The 2009 Dodge Charger is equipped with lights and valued at about $4,000.
“This would save us money because the lights come on the package deal with that vehicle,” Mermis said. “When it arrives, it would be patrol ready, other than having decals placed on it.”
As for the 2011 Charger, he said it is not equipped with lights, but they did find a suitable package for about $900.
With two newer cars, Mermis said he wouldn’t be asking for another vehicle for at least two years when the Chevy Impala would be due for trade because of its high mileage.
“These patrol cars would be placed on an eight-year rotation,” he said. “If the vehicles last longer, we may not even be talking at eight years—it might be longer.”
Another reason there’s a need for two newer vehicles is also because of the 1996 Ford Crown Victoria, which has 134,000 miles.
“This vehicle uses between one to two quarts of oil during its shift,” he said. “We are using about five quarts a month or more. Only the driver’s side window rolls down, it has a transmission problem and only the heater works.”
Mermis said the Crown Victoria is not worth fixing.
“If we had the officers rotate vehicles,” he said, “this would put more wear and tear on all the cars costing the city of Marion more money in tires, oil changes, transmission issues and other problems.”
With every officer having their own car, it would help in response times for officer needs assistance calls for back up or a severe crisis that could involve response to the schools.
“Officers keep their equipment in their cars at all times,” he said. “Having the officers share (a car) would cause problems with lost items and not knowing where something is if it’s needed in an emergency situation.”
After the council approved the additional funds, Mermis said three officers would be picking up the cars Jan. 7.
In other business, the council:
• did not approve the appointment of Diana Holub to the Planning Commission.
• heard from Angela Lange, city clerk, regarding codification services agreement.
• approved a 2 percent increase for all full-time employees who did not receive a pay adjustment from 2010 through 2012. The total expense for the increases is $5,952 in 2013.
Those positions included the city clerk, office assistant/police secretary, street foreman, laborer II street, water plant operator I and II, cemetery sexton, utility supervisor and one of the refuse truck operators.
• heard from City Administrator Doug Kjellin regarding a 4.23 percent increase in electric rates or about $2 per month per household.