Chief John Hensley says they're needed but budget constraints prevent purchase
By BECKY THOMAS
The Cheney City Council approved a four-year lease agreement for three new police vehicles at its Tuesday meeting.
The vehicles, Ford Interceptor SUVs, would be leased at $33,358 per year and would replace three cars—which were 8-10 years old or had logged more than 100,000 miles—preserving the current fleet total of 11 vehicles.
Police Chief John Hensley told the council that the Police Department needed the new vehicles, but current budget constraints prohibited outright purchase. The lease agreement, totaling $126,099, would include a fixed interest rate of 3.678 percent, and the lease could be terminated at any time.
“This gets us on track to create a program where we have regular and frequent vehicle replacement,” he said.
Councilwoman Teresa Overhauser said she approved of the lease since it wasn't binding, calling it a “good opportunity, while Councilman Graeme Webster said he didn't like leases, but he understood the need for new vehicles.”
“I don't see any other choice,” he said. “We can't afford to buy it.”
The council also adopted a new city personnel policy Tuesday night. The policy had not been updated since 2002, and changes were made to fit new laws and human resources best practices. Updates were made on employee leave, employee examinations, substance abuse and corrective and disciplinary action procedures.
Also at the meeting, leaders from Spokane Transit Authority spoke to the council about long-term plans for the public transit system, including future changes to the Cheney to Spokane route, which carries many students to Eastern Washington University. The vision for the route includes faster service with fewer stops between downtown Spokane and a hub in Cheney. STA will soon begin meetings with stakeholder groups to fine-tune the vision.
Also at the meeting:
• Cheney Fire Chief Mike Winters introduced two new resident firefighters, Aaron Blackburn and Cameron Holman, who have been with the department for the past month.
• Mayor Tom Trulove gave a proclamation acknowledging the upcoming Cheney Pee Wee Rodeo, which will take place Sept. 15 and 16 at Bi-Mart Arena.
• The council approved acceptance of a 21st Century Learning grant. In a partnership with the Cheney School District, Cheney Parks and Recreation will provide after school activities for youth at Cheney and Westwood middle schools for the next five years.
• Parks and Recreation Director Paul Simmons reported on usage at the Cheney outdoor pool this summer. He said 2,972 people utilized free swims sponsored by local businesses, and 808 children from low-income families used Make-a-Splash free pool passes to swim.
Becky Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.