The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 24, 2013

Conneaut’s police fleet gets three new cruisers

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — Three new utility vehicles, the first upgrades to the Conneaut Police Department fleet in nearly three years, are now helping officers chase down desperadoes.

The big vehicles are souped-up, toughened-up versions of the Ford Explorer and provide some overdue help to the department’s motor pool, said Police Chief Charles Burlingham. “They were put into service on April 15,” he said.

The vehicles are police interceptor versions of the popular vehicle, and will replace Explorers that were not police-grade, officials said. The new cars cost a total of $89,000 and were obtained at a discount through the state purchasing program, said Finance Director John Williams said.

The city last bought new cruisers in May 2010, according to records.

Purchase of the vehicles accounted somewhat for a slight boost in expenditures over the first quarter of 2013, Williams told City Council at Monday night’s regular meeting. Revenue, meanwhile, dipped by an estimated $36,000 over the same period, he said.

In other financial news, Williams reported Monday night more than $130,000 remains in a fund generated by a street/road levy that expired at the end of 2012. Some $20,000 of that money has been earmarked for material to maintain the city’s unpaved roads. The fund will also be tapped to repair a stretch of Harbor Street once an upcoming utility project is completed.

Meanwhile, municipal income tax collections are lagging 10 percent behind 2012’s pace, Williams said.

In other business, City Manager Tim Eggleston said the city has nearly completed restoration of a wetlands damaged by a water line construction project in the area of Lake and Gore roads last year. Stone placed in the wetlands to create an access road for construction vehicles has been removed and the site has been re-seeded, he said. Once vegetation begins to sprout, photos will be taken and sent to agencies upset with the project, Eggleston said.

In 2012, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent the city a letter regarding the wetlands situation.