CLINTON (AP) – Town officials are considering getting into the advertising business in exchange for $1 police cars.

The town is considering a proposal to lease its cruisers for just $1 a year from a private company, Government Acquisitions Inc. In exchange, the town would have to let the cars’ hoods, trunks and sides be used for advertising from companies such as supermarket chains, insurance firms and hospitals.

“The way I understand it is that you obligate the town to purchase a vehicle for a three-year period for $1 for each vehicle,” town manager Keith Trefethen said. “And you have to keep it for three years.

“The exchange is that they have the opportunity to solicit advertisements to be placed on the vehicle by the company who wants to advertise.”

Trefethen said Clinton Police Chief Leonard Macdaid got the idea to join Government Acquisitions from a law enforcement periodical to which he subscribes.

The town attorney has seen the company proposals, he said, and the next step is to bring the plan to the Board of Selectmen for approval.

Government Acquisitions, based in Charlotte, N.C., now has similar agreements with hundreds of municipalities across the country. The company said its gives towns a way to purchase new police cars, ambulances and other municipal vehicles without spending large sums of money.

“The program gives the government entities the vehicles and equipment they need to provide homeland security, protect and serve in their community without having to obtain government funding or raising taxes,” the company’s promotional literature reads.

Trefethen said that at the end of three years the town can give back the vehicle and get its money back. The town would have to insure and maintain the vehicles.

“They give you your $1 back. Then they sell it, or wholesale it, and you can enter into another three year agreement,” the town manager said.

Cornell Knight, town manager of Winthrop, said his town signed on to Government Acquisitions last month in the hopes of taking delivery of a new ambulance.

“The benefit is that we would have use of a brand new ambulance for three years at basically no cost – that’s significant,” Knight said. “In this financial climate, we’re trying to save money any way we can.”

Government Acquisitions does not allow advertising for firearms, tobacco, liquor, gambling or any other sponsor it deems inappropriate.

AP-ES-07-10-03 0215EDT

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