Sheriff gains new vehicles

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 27, 2007

JACKSON – On Monday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of 12 new vehicles for the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Wardie Vincent appeared before the board to seek permission to enter into a lease purchase agreement in order to buy the vehicles.

Vincent said the Sheriff’s Office needed to replace vehicles that have reached their life expectancy and the vehicles that are going to be replaced will have reached 200,000 miles by the end of the year. He said the repair cost will outweigh the purchase price of a new patrol unit.

The purchase of the new patrol cars will cost approximately $312,000 and the lease purchase for three years would roughly be $104,000 per year.

“We’ve got to the point that we need to remove those older vehicles,” he said.

Vincent also mentioned the four new staff positions that have been added to the department, which is another need for new patrol cars.

Commissioner Chairwoman Virginia Spruill (D-2nd) asked if the four new positions would help eliminate the areas of the county not covered, speed up response time and help reduce the crime rate.

Vincent said the additional positions would help full county coverage.

Finance Director Dot Vick said if the county entered into the lease purchase it may cost some additional tax dollars because the county would have two debt payments in fiscal year 2008-09 due to a previous lease for vehicle purchase for the Sheriff’s Office.

The board also discussed whether or not housing inmates would help relieve the cost burden.

Vick said the housing of inmates would help but not that much considering you have to pay staff to look over the inmates as well as feed and house them.

County Manager Wayne Jenkins asked Vincent if there was any way he could go without 12 vehicles and perhaps purchase a lesser number.

Vincent asked Jenkins to look at it from his point of view and his staff would not be able to serve the county’s citizens in a safe and timely manner.

Vice Chairman Robert Carter (D-4th) agreed by saying Vincent along with the board will be criticized if citizens were not served appropriately.

Carter made a motion to lease purchase the vehicles. The motion was seconded by Fannie Greene (D-5th). The motion passed without objection.

The commissioners also approved to enter into a contract with Bobby Jones Ford of Augusta, Ga. for the lease purchase. That company offered the lowest bid.

A motion was made by Commissioner James Hester (D-1st). It was seconded by Commissioner Chester Deloatch (D-3rd). The motion passed without objection.