BENTON -- Scott County commissioners and the Sheriff's Department continue to look into ways to get the most for their money when it comes to patrol vehicles.
During Thursday's regular meeting, Sheriff Rick Walter and Deputy Jeremy Perrien met with commissioners to discuss information they've learned over the past two weeks since the commission discussed the possibility of leasing vehicles for patrol use.
The idea was brought up by Commissioner Ron McCormick, who had spent part of the day riding with Perrien and learned of the mileage put on vehicles over a year. McCormick said he was concerned that, with only replacing two vehicles per year, some vehicles would accumulate a high mileage by the time they were replaced.
"I'm really interested into looking into these leased cars, especially if it will save the county money," said Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn.
Vehicles discussed that are available through the bid are the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Crown Victoria and Dodge V6 Chargers.
According to a state bid, cost for the Tahoes would be $23,883 per year for three; and the Crown Victorias and V6 Chargers would total $23,000 each per year for three vehicles.
Perrien also said that there is no limit for the number of miles one can put on the vehicles, and no extra charges if a certain number is met.
The prices are in the same ballpark as vehicles the county has purchased outright, noted Burger.
"Plus the car is coming completely equipped, other than the transfer of the radio, which we would have already, and the striping package," said Jamie Burger, presiding commissioner..
Perrien said the savings as a result of already having lights, sirens and other patrol features is about $3,000.
Another plus is that, after the county has leased a vehicle for three years, it can choose to purchase it for $1.
"That's rare," said Burger. "That's what really caught my eye."
Burger said that with the program the county would hopefully be able to replace cars sooner.
The county would be responsible for repairs and maintenance on the vehicles.
Walter suggested commissioners themselves speak with the MSHP and the sheriff in Lincoln County to get their feedback, as well as the dealerships contracted through the state bid.
"But I think it's definitely something worth looking into," said Walter.
Burger also said it would be a good idea to check with USDA Rural Development, which offers grants to be used toward the purchase of sheriff cars, to see whether leased vehicles would impact the county's eligibility for grant funds.
In other business during Thursday's meeting, Joel Evans, county developer and emergency management director, briefed commissioners on the fire extinguisher training held Wednesday with county employees.
"I think it went well," he said. "I wish we had had a bigger turnout, though."
Fifteen employees participated in the training, which included response instructions, in addition to hands-on learning with extinguishers. They fought two different burns, one fueled with liquid petroleum and the other with diesel fuel.
Evans did note there was 100 percent turnout from the Highway Department, with all 10 employees in attendance.
Burger asked Evans to write a synopsis of the training to be put in the county's safety file. That information is periodically turned into the workers compensation group that represents the county, to show steps the county is taking to better ensure the safety of employees.