Town to purchase police vehicles, update radios

Published 6:45 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

BELHAVEN — The Town of Belhaven is well on its way to purchasing two new police vehicles.

The Town recently received tentative approval for funds totaling a little less than $100,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture to cover the costs of the vehicles, as well as cover updates on the radio system, according to town Manager Woody Jarvis.

A public hearing period was held at Monday’s Belhaven Board of Aldermen meeting regarding the USDA money, but no one came forward to speak.

Jarvis said roughly half of the funds will be grant money, while the other half will be a loan, to be paid back over seven years.

“We’re going buy one full-size pickup (truck) for the police department and one full-size Ford sedan,” he said. “It is a very good deal for the town.”

According to Jarvis, the Town began applying for the funds back in February, as two of the police department’s 2010 Dodge Chargers were experiencing problems and a third vehicle was grounded from use.

The Board of Aldermen gave the go-ahead at Monday’s meeting to auction off the third vehicle, along with a fire truck, brush chipper, gas barrels and a Town-owned sedan, all of which are no longer used.

At a board meeting in late April, Jarvis explained that the two Dodge Chargers needed expensive repairs to fix a motor and update radiators — repairs that would end up costing the town more than it was worth in the long run.

Once the USDA funds are officially approved, the Town can move forward with purchasing the vehicles and seeing which ones work best for Belhaven, Jarvis said.

“You can do more with a truck than you can with a car,” Alderman Amos Wilson said at the April meeting.

About $32,000 of the funds will be put toward updating the police department’s radio system, according to Jarvis.

“All of the emergency management stuff in the county is changing,” Jarvis said. “For our police department to function, they get calls and telecommunicators have to be on standby for every call. We’re getting radios that will be able to talk to county telecommunicators.”

The county is in the process of revamping some of its emergency management system. Changes include countywide EMS services fire personnel switching to the Viper communication system.

Jarvis said the USDA contract is relatively flexible and the interest rate attached to the loan portion will be low.