From The Tribune-Review by Brigid Beatty, February 11, 2014
For the most part, Ford City Council agreed Monday that the borough needs another police car — but has yet to determine how it will proceed.
“We need a police car,” Mayor Marc Mantini said. “It’s a public safety issue.”
The police department has only one car in service, said Councilman Gene Banks.
That car is a 2009 model with 80,000 miles and must be shared between two full-time officers and 13 part-time officers. The other 2007 car has 140,000 miles and needs a new transmission, with repair costs starting at $1,600.
Having one working vehicle is a dire situation, Mantini said, especially in light of increasing drug-related crimes and the recent burglaries in town.
He said that Sgt. John Atherton, officer-in-charge, had gotten a quote from a dealership for a new 2014 Ford for $23,135.
Councilman Josh Abernathy suggested that council consider saving money by looking into buying a low-mileage used car.
What followed was a heated argument between the mayor and Councilman Jerry Miklos on whether council should buy a new or used car, or just repair the 2007 model.
“I’d like to hold off buying a police car. I’d like to see us get the streets fixed,” Miklos said.
He said that the police department runs on a half-million dollar budget.
“How can we do a little more with a little less?” he asked.
“We haven’t had a police chief in over eight years,” Mantini said. “How much more can we cut?”
Council voted 4-1 to approve buying a new or used patrol car, up to $30,000, and/or repairing the out-of-service car, pending a recommendation by the police committee. Miklos opposed the measure.
“I’m not in favor of buying a new car,” he said.