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In hopes of getting ahead of the game, Gainesville City Council members have unanimously agreed to purchase two new vehicles for the Gainesville Police Department earlier than usual.

Police Chief Kevin Phillips explained to council members Tuesday, Nov. 17, there's been a bit of delay in purchasing vehicles because of the coronavirus and “other issues.”

In March, the council approved the purchase of three patrol vehicles from Holiday Ford for $141,722, according to a council action report provided by the city. 

Those vehicles, Phillips said, have “just finally arrived at the outfitter.”

“We are still probably 30 to 45 days out so we don't really anticipate delivery of those cars until after the first of the year,” Phillips said. “ … We anticipate we may see similar delays with the order of these cars and that's why we are requesting them a little earlier than we normally would.”

On Tuesday, council members agreed to allow GPD to order two police patrol vehicles through a Tarrant County purchasing contract from Holiday Ford for $91,434. They are 2021 Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles. 

“Purchases through the Tarrant County purchasing contract eliminate the need for the sealed bid process because the contract meets state legal obligations and are awarded in accordance with state purchasing statutes and competitive bidding requirements,” according to information provided to council members.

One of the SUVs being ordered, Phillips said, is a supervisor vehicle so it doesn't require some of the protective barriers a typical patrol unit would since supervisors don't usually transport prisoners. Because of this, that vehicle is about $1,400 less than the fully equipped patrol SUV. 

The vehicles were budgeted, Phillips said. However, this fiscal year the monies to pay for the vehicles will come from the city's assigned fund instead of the police department's budget. 

The assigned fund, made up of monies from when the city has a higher cash balance than budgeted during a better economy, allows the city to keep moving forward “during hard economic times” and helps pay cash for capital projects, City Manager Barry Sullivan said. 

The only remaining expenses on the two newly approved patrol vehicles are the graphics and window tinting, which are completed after the vehicles are delivered to the police department.

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