The Longboat Key Police Department will have four vehicles with that new-car smell in a new model and color scheme hitting the streets by the end of the year.
After reviewing a report from Police Capt. Frank Rubino about why the vehicles are needed and agreeing with Town Manager Dave Bullock’s funding recommendation, the Town Commission voted unanimously to fund the vehicles at its Monday regular meeting.
Bullock presented an ordinance to commissioners in September that would reallocate infrastructure surtax funds to provide for the $356,000 by reducing funds for other projects — including a reduction of $100,000 each for comprehensive beach management, canal dredging and parks and recreation.
At that workshop, the commission reached consensus to move forward with an ordinance reallocating the funds but also debated the need for the vehicles and asked for a report outlining that need. They also had concerns about finding funds for future canal dredging.
Commissioners wanted a breakdown of the replacement schedule, which is based on a formula of both mileage and hours on the road, because police vehicles spend a large amount of time idling.
On Monday, Bullock said “the $400,000 we have allocated for canal dredging doesn’t get touched.”
Instead, surtax monies will be reallocated for public-safety purposes, including canal dredging, with Bullock noting that $164,000 in new surtax funds will be put back into those funds later this year, after the commission decides where the dollars should go.
With the commission already agreeing to put $1 million aside for canal-dredging purposes, the town will have $1.3 million available for future dredging.
Rubino, meanwhile, explained the need for the new cars, noting the town put off replacements last year.
“We have a tired fleet right now,” Rubino said.
To save money, the squad car with the lowest mileage will replace a Fire Rescue Department car that has too many miles.
The police department will purchase three all-wheel drive SUVs and one patrol car this year, followed by two patrol cars, one SUV and one detective vehicle in 2014. The SUVs will help police patrol neighborhoods during severe flooding and after severe storms.