The Montgomery City Council has given Police Chief Anthony Solomon the green light to replace three aging vehicles in his fleet.
Mayor Pro Tem T.J. Wilkerson and Councilwoman Julie Davis were the lone nay votes In a 3-2 vote, but for differing reasons. Wilkerson said he wanted to give Solomon the entire $215,180 he was seeking to replace four vehicles. However, Davis originally motioned to cap the chief’s funds at $100,000 for two vehicles and allow him to purchase two more next year.
“This is a lot of money to swallow right before budget time,” Davis said.
Davis’ motion was ultimately amended to give Solomon just over $174,000 to purchase two Chevrolet Tahoes and one Ford Defender. The fourth vehicle Solomon was seeking funding for would have been an unmarked car for an investigator.
During the council’s Aug. 10 meeting, Solomon explained two of the vehicles should have been replaced last year due to water damage.
“Everything is falling apart,” Solomon said.
City Manager Richard Tramm explained because the city adopted a “conservative budget” for 2021, some larger priced items, including police vehicles, were not funded. At that time, the council agreed to bring those items back at a later date for consideration. Tramm added because the city’s revenues are above budget levels, the city would have the funds to replace part of the fleet.
Council members agree the vehicles were in “rough shape.”
Mayor Sara Countryman said she felt Solomon was conservative in his request.
“This is our safety. Law enforcement should be our number one priority in this city,” she said calling the vehicles dilapidated. “It’s embarrassing quite frankly.”
Wilkerson said funding for the police department is critical.
“I don’t want to defund them,” he said. “I want to do the whole thing and be done.”
Written by Catherine Dominguez