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Town Meeting on Quick Purchase of New Police Vehicle

Town requests $68,000 from fund balance to fill a need at a fraction of the price.

A town meeting has been called for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in room 133 of Town Hall to approve a special appropriation from the fund balance to purchase a $67,300 truck for the . The Board of Finance (BOF) approved the spending at a recent meeting after hearing from police Maj. Jay Purcell, who explained that this was a one-time, serendipitous opportunity for the town to achieve a capital goal at almost one-third the cost.

The vehicle in question, a Ford Super Duty outfitted to act as an emergency response vehicle and mobile command post, is currently owned by Lancaster County Police in Nebraska, the recent recipients of a grant allowing them to upgrade to a newer vehicle that suits their needs better. BOF member Phil Kurtz discovered the discounted vehicle after speaking with Purcell about the need in the department.

“It’s served them well mechanically and looks to be in very good shape,” Purcell said, noting that the Brookfield Fire Department’s maintenance mechanic happens to be visiting a nearby department a mere 20 minutes away and will inspect the truck before it is purchased.

The truck, priced at around $175,000 new, is also outfitted to many of the specifications the department is looking for.

“It’s a good deal because it’s the right deal for us,” Purcell told the BOF, as it has wired mounts for communications equipment, proper storage places installed and an extendable awning to transform the rear into a mobile command center.

The vehicle is a part of the town’s five-year capital plan for a number of years, according to First Selectman Bill Davidson, however “every time we $175,000 we push it back a year; this seemed to be a superb opportunity to solve a capital needs problem at one-third the cost.”

Finance Board members, while appreciative of the timing and need, chaffed at the idea of approving an appropriation from the fund balance without considering how this need stacked up against other potential needs.

“I basically support us buying this vehicle,” said Vice Chairman Irv Agard, who, along with the other five BOF members, voted in favor of the purchase. “But if dollars are limited — as they always are — is this vehicle number one on your priority list?”

Agard suggested creating a priority list of projects, similar to the five-year capital plan, but which would be paid for out of the fund balance rather than bonding.

The other board members agreed with Agard, however, as member Ron Jaffe said, “this is a unique situation that will not occur if we do not take advantage of it right now.”

With the approval of the BOF, the appropriation request goes to the voters at Thursday’s town meeting.

Rob Gianazza April 16, 2012 at 01:18 PM
I am delighted that individual members of the Brookfield Police Department and members of the BOF are working together to save the Town of Brookfield significant dollars when considering this purchase. My question is, what direction is the Town going in that we need a Mobile Command Center? I guess I was hoping for a little more Mayberry and a little less major city crime squad. More Andy and less Hill Street Blues.
Brookfield Resident April 16, 2012 at 04:24 PM
The amount of waste in this town is unbelievable. I'd like to see some reporting on the what the need for this vehicle is? Do other similarly sized towns (with similar income ranges, etc) have one of these? I'm glad it's a great deal, but $67K is still a lot more than 0 if we don't need it at all.
Brian April 16, 2012 at 05:17 PM
While this does appear to be a good deal, I tend to agree with Rob this time that the real question here is the need for a mobile command center in Brookfield. On one hand, apparently this has been on the 5 year capital plan for a few years and if an incident ever occurred at a school within Brookfield a Mobile Command Center would be a valuable asset to deploy. On the other, is this a priority for Brookfield? If the answer really is that the need is there and we would ultimately end up purchasing a mobile command center within the next 5 years anyway..then this opportunity might be the best thing for Brookfield with the stars aligned (even a mechanic in the area to first check out the vehicle). One last thought....Have we looked into sharing a mobile command center with neighboring towns (New Milford, Bethel and/or Newtown)? This would seem to be a better solution as such a vehicle is like an insurance policy, needed in the rare event that something does occur. Maybe this is the right opportunity and the cost could be further reduced by approaching neighboring towns about sharing the cost (purchase, retrofit of equipment and ongoing maintenance).
Steven DeVaux April 16, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Of course Brookfield needs one! It doesn't have one. Danbury has one. Therefore, Brookfield needs one. They would park it in Meadowbrook Manor right now as they have been working on The Case of The Unsolvable Vandalism in which over $15,000 was destroyed in a single night with nary a clue. Of course. You don't expect the Chief and the Major to get cold in the winter do you? Besides, they could use it for the hurricane or storm damage by being on site and doing things.
Beverage Guy April 16, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Brian, I could not agree with you more on the 'sharing' idea. I was going to post that though also and you beat me to it while I was looking for info on other Connecticut towns that have done this. A prime example is the vehicle used by Hamden/North Haven/East Haven on the shoreline. (http://www.hamdendailynews.com/ArchivesGNJanuary06.html) Scroll near the bottom. The costs are reduced and you get more vehicle being each town will not be using it regularly. I have also seen said vehicle used in surrounding towns through PD cooperation. I think the vehicle is a great idea, it just may be better to explore options rather than jump.
Bill Everge April 16, 2012 at 09:36 PM
This town's pathetic... what could we possibly need this for...? There's almost literally no crime in this town... all cops even do nowadays is harass pot smokers... it's pathetic.. cops around here need to get a grip. instead of messing with peaceful residents living their lives who happen to smoke pot, get some real problems to combat! be happy there are no real crimes to deal with in Brookfield... but that doesn't mean everytime i go to Mobil at 1am and buy a dutch you gotta follow me!Brookfield PD you guys need a reality check...
Charlie Suedo April 19, 2012 at 01:13 PM
This is a stunning example of town waste. A mobile command center? Shocking. Am I the only one who has noticed that there is a similar vechile that has stayed in the same parking space in the BPD for the past 2 some years?

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