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City board buys five SUVs, balks at others

Batesville aldermen approved the purchase of two Chevrolet SUVs and three Dodges, but balked at buying two Ford vehicles at their Tuesday meeting at City Hall.

City department heads routinely present the board with requests for vehicles to replace aging units, bringing with them competitive quotes or information about state contract prices.

Board members usually rubberstamp the requests and the department heads coordinate with City Clerk Susan Berryhill to order and pay for the new vehicles.

Not so this week.

Police Chief Jimmy McCloud started the requests, asking for approval to purchase two 2020 Chevrolet Tahoes for $67,420 to be used for the K-9 unit, and three 2020 Dodge Durangos for $80,265 to be used by detectives, investigators, and city administrators.

The board asked just a couple of the questions about those purchase requests, mainly to know if the Durangos were going to be used by patrolmen on the streets, and voted 3-0 to approve.

Aldermen Teddy Morrow and Bill Duggar were not in attendance.

Next up was Fire Chief Tim Taylor, who did not find the same friendly reception when he presented a requests for the purchase of two Ford Expeditions at a cost of $38,277 each.

Mayor Jerry Autrey asked Taylor why he wanted the Ford SUVs and not one of the others the police chief had requested. Taylor said the Expeditions were larger vehicles and were needed for equipment.

Mayor Autrey said he wanted to find out more about the quotes that Taylor presented before he made a recommendation to the board about the purchases. Taylor said he would just withdraw the requests and come before the board later.

“That’s fine, mayor, the Fire Department will just keep driving what we have,” Taylor said.

There was no more discussion about vehicles at the meeting.

In other business, the board were given copies of new ordinances drawn up by City Attorney Colmon Mitchell relating to the regulation of dogs at Batesville Mounds and certain carriers (walkers, strollers, etc.) at the Mounds and all city parks.

The board also gave approval for the Water Department to extend water service to the corner of Hwy. 6W and Farrish Gravel Rd. to property owned by Tommy Caine. Because the property is outside the current city limits, board approval was needed for the extension. The cost is $4,248 and will be paid by Caine.