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City looks to get great deal on new police cars, school buses

By Staff | Mar 6, 2012

Cape Coral business manager Victoria Bateman had to think she couldn’t have gotten a better deal if she went to a local car dealer.

But that’s what she’s going to get assuming the city council approves a measure that will allow the city to buy 40 new police cars, a fire pumper and related equipment to begin replacement of an aging fleet.

Bateman will also spend $450,000 on a new fire-pumper and IT-related computer equipment by piggybacking quotes.

And the cars will be fuel efficient, made in America and without all that horsepower the cars don’t really need.

The estimated cost for the 40 Dodge Chargers will be $2.1 million, but with an interest rate of 1.48 percent over five years, Bateman said there’s no real argument and that time was fleeting.

“The new cars are more fuel efficient and the maintenance on the old cars is too much,” Bateman said. “The financing is good until April 1, or we’ll have to go back to bid.”

Bateman presented the figures to council, which showed that the 40 Chargers will replace 40 cars with more than 100,000 miles on them, with some more than 10 years old.

Most significant, most involved looked at the MPGs and not the MPH.

“Today’s Charger is not your daddy’s Charger. These cars have a V6 engine,” said Police Chief Jay Murphy. “There’s no reason to do 160 off the blocks. The Charger will meet our needs.”

Murphy was equally proud of the way he was able to piggyback quotes with the Florida Sheriff’s Association, which brought the price tag down considerably.

“When we bought the old cars they cost between $22,000 and $24,000,” Murphy said. “We got $21,834 per car in writing.”

Even the fiscally conservative Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz was impressed.

“You did an excellent job. I had $22,500 as my going rate for research,” Leetz said before saying, “We’re spreading out the pain over five years.”

Mayor Pro-Tem Kevin McGrail was more curious over getting even newer technology.

“Why can’t you lobby the police association about hybrid with today’s technology?” McGrail asked. “Manufacturers must know this is ideally set up for these technologies.”

Bateman said that with the rates they had, they should have considered buying more.

“It makes more sense to get all the cars at low rates instead of getting them a year from now and face higher interest rates,” Bateman said.

Bateman also got good rates to purchase 15 school buses for the Cape Coral Charter School Authority, with an eight-year term at 1.67 percent and a $1.5 million total price tag.

“It will cost $20,000 less to make the purchase this year because we will have to buy buses with new EPA standards next year,” Bateman warned.

The buses would be sub-leased to the charter schools for payment of debt service, while Lee County would continue with maintenance, Bateman said.