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New Ipswich

Select Board OKs new police car

2013 Ford Interceptor will replace 2008 Ford Taurus in department fleet

NEW IPSWICH — The Select Board approved the purchase of a new 2013 Ford Interceptor for the police department during Tuesday’s Select Board meeting.

The board agreed to spend $27,571 out of the town’s police vehicle expendable trust fund for the purchase of the vehicle and outfitting it with equipment, which will be transferred to the new car from the town’s 2008 Ford Taurus, which the new vehicle will replace.

The 2008 Ford Taurus has outlasted its usefulness as a service vehicle, Police Chief Tim Carpenter told the board on Tuesday. The vehicle has 73,400 miles on it, and has multiple issues that will need to be addressed in short order if the town wishes to extend the life of the vehicle. Among the needed repairs are a new catalytic converter, new brakes and new tires. The total estimated repairs for the car equal just under $2,000, even if the town uses the Mascenic Automotive program for the labor, which greatly reduces the labor charge. If it were in better than average condition, the maximum trade-in value of the car would be $1,000, said Carpenter.

“We’re throwing good money at bad right now,” said Carpenter, of attempting to continue the vehicle by repairing it.

Select Board member Becky Doyle asked how many vehicles the police department currently had, and what their uses were. Carpenter replied that the department has four — two 2013 Ford Explorers, a 2008 Crown Victoria and the 2008 Ford Taurus. The plan, said Carpenter, is to eventually put the police vehicles on a three-year rotation period, so that one vehicle is replaced every three years. The oldest vehicle is used as a detail car, and to transport officers to court and to trainings. The newer cars are used for patrol. Though they were both purchased in the same year, the use of the Ford Explorers are split unevenly, so that one has significantly more miles on it, said Carpenter.

Once the vehicles are in the three-year cycle, said Carpenter, the oldest vehicle will be traded in, a new one purchased, and each vehicle will move down a slot on the rotation, so that the newest vehicles are preserved and the majority of miles are put onto the older cars.

After replacing the 2008 Ford Taurus this year, the department’s other 2008 vehicle, the Crown Victoria, will be replaced in two years. After that, the department will be able to enter the three-year cycle, Carpenter explained.

Doyle questioned whether there was any value in putting repairs into the 2008 Ford Taurus and keeping it for another year before implementing this plan. “Are we better to wait a year? Do we try to string it along?” she asked. “I’m just posing the question.”

Carpenter advised against it, since it would eat into a majority of his $5,000 vehicle maintenance budget, and also would force the town to purchase a 2014 vehicle rather than a 2013, which would be more expensive.

Select Board member Woody Meiszner said he wasn’t in favor of trying to put more funds into the car. “I don’t necessarily see the advantage in taking a risk,” he said.

Carpenter suggested putting the 2008 Ford Taurus out to bid, but the board instead voted to have Carpenter trade in the vehicle for whatever he could get for it. The board then approved an expenditure of up to $27,571 for the purchase and outfitting of a new 2013 Ford Interceptor police vehicle. The price of the trade-in will offset the vehicle’s cost.

The Select Board meets next on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the town offices.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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