RUMFORD — The Board of Selectmen voted 3-1 at Thursday evening’s selectmen meeting to reject a request from the Police Department to approve a police vehicle bid.

Rumford police Chief Stacy Carter told the Board of Selectmen that he was looking to replace the Police Department’s 2008 Ford Expedition police cruiser with a 2013 or 2014 Ford Police Pursuit SUV all-wheel drive.

“We went out to bid for the vehicle, and six bids came in,” Carter said. “We ended up going with the lowest bid.”

The low bid came from Rowe Auburn, with a 2013 Ford Police Pursuit SUV that was priced at $21,876.

Carter defended the police cruiser purchase, explaining to the board that the Police Department has already kept its 2008 Ford Expedition “a year longer than we normally would.”

“It has more mileage than we normally carry for an emergency-response vehicle,” Carter continued. “As a police emergency vehicle, it seems more advantageous to upgrade to a newer model to save money on repairs and to maintain the safety of the officers. The vehicle needs to be reliable, and it’s certainly within our five-year capital plan that was approved by the citizens.”

Chairman Greg Buccina asked Carter, “Don’t we have a vehicle in the fleet that could substitute for the time being?”

“Yes, we have three cars, but if we use those instead of the other car, it’ll mess up the five-year capital plan we have in place for recycling the vehicles,” Carter replied.

“I totally understand and respect your wisdom,” Buccina said, “but I guess right now we’re at a point where we need to look at alternatives to how we do our business.”

Carter said, “I understand, Mr. Buccina, but as a police service vehicle, we need to be able to respond, and be able to respond safely, for our citizens and for our officers.”

Rumford patrolman Brad Gallant spoke up for the new police cruiser, telling the board, “I’ve had the opportunity to drive our current vehicle. There’s almost 150,000 miles on the car, and when you go above 50 miles per hour, it has a nice shudder to it.”

Selectman Jolene Lovejoy subsequently made a motion for the board to approve the police cruiser bid, which the board then rejected by a 3-1 vote.

Selectman Jeff Sterling then asked for the discussion on the police cruiser to be tabled until Carter could get an estimate on how much it would cost for him to repair the 2008 Ford Expedition.

The Board of Selectmen also rejected a request from the Parks and Recreation Commission to approve a three-quarter-ton pickup truck bid.

The new pickup requested by the Parks and Recreation Commission would replace the current one-ton truck that the Parks and Recreation Department uses for dumping and pulling trailers.

Buccina asked Parks and Recreation Director Michael Mills what the impact of not approving the truck would be for the Parks and Recreation Department, adding, “I’m going to be honest with you, Mr. Mills. I’m of the mindset right now that we need to make things go as far as they can go to save money.”

Mills replied, “We’re looking at somewhere between $5,000 and $6,500 so it can get a sticker.”

Buccina said, “Maybe I’m speaking out of turn, but I think now, more than ever, is the time that we should extend the life of something you have, instead of buying something new.”

“I don’t have a problem with that at all,” Mills said. “I just want to know what to tell the board.”

The Board of Selectmen subsequently voted 4-0 to reject the request for the pickup truck bid.

In other business, the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to approve a request from the Greater Rumford Community Center to change the Rumford Senior Center’s bus parking space to public parking.

Selectman Frank DiConzo asked Buccina why the GRCC made the request.

“The senior citizen group that used to occupy that space isn’t there anymore,” Buccina said, “and that’s why we had that parking space set aside for the buses. Now that they’re gone, they’re looking to switch it to public parking.”

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