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November 27, 2014

Heflin police to wait past summer for a new car

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Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 12:53 am | Updated: 1:41 pm, Thu Jul 24, 2014.

HEFLIN — The City Council on Tuesday heard that the purchase of a new police car must wait until 2015 fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.

Mayor Rudy Rooks said Heflin’s accountant prohibited council members from dipping into the city’s debt service funds for the purchase.

“We need it. We gotta have it; we just don’t have the money appropriated for it,” Rooks said.

Heflin police Chief A. J. Benefield presented the council members with a request for a new car at a July 8 work session. The department’s cars have odometer readings ranging from 28,775 miles to 170,127, Benefield told them. Three cars, which were purchased as salvage cars, were unreliable and in the shop quite a lot, he said. On July 8, one of the salvaged cars was at the shop waiting to have a transmission put it in — the third transmission the department had put in the vehicle.

Tuesday, he reiterated the problem.

“It’s kind of a yo-yo effect,” Benefield said. “One in, one out.”

A new car would cost the city about $37,808, Benefield said.

At the earlier meeting, Heflin City Clerk Shane Smith said the only place the city had enough money to buy a police car was the money it had set aside to pay its bond debt. Without that option, Rooks said, the purchase must wait.

“We’re gonna try to limp by until the new fiscal year takes off Oct.1,” Rooks said.

Benefield said Tuesday that the department had three vehicles it has filed requests to seize. Those vehicles, while not suitable for patrol, can be used by him or the investigator, he said. The cars they now use have more than 170,000 miles and more than 97,000 miles, Benefield said.

The cars still belong to the suspects until the judge orders otherwise, Benefield said.

“We’re told by the D.A. one is on the judge’s desk waiting for a signature, hopefully the other two we’ll get soon,” Benefield said.

In other business, the council members:

• Declared a 1956 fire truck surplus property so that it could be sold. The truck has been sitting in the street department’s lot for years, Smith said.

• Decided to wait until fall to have a light installed at the new walking track at the Community Arts Center. Smith suggested the council wait until after the time change, when darkness arrives earlier, to see if the track gets a lot of use after dark.

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