By Britne Reeves
CANTON—With County Judge Rhita Koches absent, it was up to the remaining members of the commissioners court to make a decision regarding a request from Sheriff Lindsey Ray to receive financing for up to six new vehicles for the sheriff’s office.
Chief Deputy of Operations Mike Bates explained that six vehicles in Chicago had been found and plans to purchase the Chevy Tahoes were in the works when the sheriff’s office was informed that bids would have to be solicited for the purchase of the vehicles for any amount over $50,000. Bates said the vehicles could not be held by the owner for an extended period of time due to the popularity of the vehicles among law enforcement agencies.
The six used Tahoes would cost the sheriff’s office about $75,000 out of the budgeted $125,000.
Bates and Ray both agreed that the price was a great deal and would not likely be found elsewhere. “I hate to lose this opportunity, but we have to play by the rules and we will do what is necessary to do that,” Ray said.
Bates said there were several vehicles down in Austin that were available for purchase from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The sheriff’s office would not be required to solicit bids to purchase vehicles from the DPS but the vehicles had more mileage on the vehicles from Chicago.
The decision to go with a fleet of Tahoe’s rather than Crown Victorias would be a new but profitable change for the sheriff’s office, Ray said. “When our Crown Victorias reach about 80,000 miles we decommission them,” he said. “With the Tahoe’s we can use them up to 150,000 miles or over. So we end up saving money in the long run and getting a better resale value in the end.”
The commissioners granted the request of the sheriff’s office for the financing for up to six vehicles.
In other news of the Commissioners Court:
— Set Nov.12 for a public hearing on the consideration of establishing a “maximum reasonable prudent speed limit” of 20 mph VZCR 3508 and 45 mph on VZCR 2144..
— Voted unanimously to increase the Homeland Security Grant in the amount of $28,972 for equipment.
— Approved miscellaneous items to be salvaged from the Office of the Criminal District Attorney.
— Agreed for unrestricted Internet access for the Sheriff’s Office employees.
— Approved an addendum agreement with Justice Benefits, Inc. of Dallas for the submission of the Supplemental Security Income claim information to the Social Security Administration on a monthly basis. Inmates will lose SSI benefits while incarcerated. The county is responsible for reporting an inmate’s SSI to the SSA while incarcerated. The reports have to be filed monthly.