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Weirton looking at fleet improvements for police, public works departments

WEIRTON — The city’s Finance Committee convened Wednesday, recommending the purchase of several vehicles for Weirton’s Police and Public Works departments.

The resolutions for the purchases will go before the full Weirton Council for consideration Monday.

One of the purchases was proposed in place a previously approved purchase.

In March, council had approved the purchase of a Dodge Ram 2500 4×4 crew cab for the Street Department.

Public Works Director Rod Ronsick, explained, however, there was an issue when he went to place the order through the vendor.

“They’re no longer taking orders for Dodge Rams,” Rosnick said.

Instead, council will be asked to approve the purchase of a 2022 Ford F-250 4×4 crew cab, at a cost of $47,155. This is approximately $3,000 more than the Dodge vehicle would have been, it was noted.

City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo said language would be included to note the vehicle is replacing the one previously approved.

Public Works also has requested the purchase of a 2022 Ford F-550 regular cab truck with a dump body and plow/spreader package, at a cost of $101,548. Rosnick noted the city received only one bid.

The police department has requested the purchase of two 2021 Ford Explorer marked police cruisers at a cost of $68,282.

Finance Director Diana Smoljanovich explained the purchases had not been budgeted for the current fiscal year, but additional funds are available because of adjustments in the department’s operations.

“They are so under budget on their overtime,” she said, with officials explaining changes in the department’s overtime callout procedures had allowed for the additional funds.

Police Chief Charlie Kush noted the need for regular replacement of the department’s fleet as a result of constant use and wear and tear.

“Almost all of our vehicles have over 70,000 miles on them,” Kush said, adding several of the cruisers are beginning to have mechanical issues which are unable to be addressed by the city garage.

Other resolutions included authorizing repairs to the 2016 Freightliner Sanitation Truck at $9,500, and the purchase of parts to repair the strainer assembly on the 2012 Freightliner Vac Truck at $6,000. Public Works also requested $9,890 for continuing environmental services connected to the monitoring of four old gas wells.

Also recommended by the committee were two budget revisions; one for the 2020-21 general fund budget and the other for the 2020-21 coal severance budget.

For the general fund, Smoljanovich noted the change involved pass-through funds for Weirton Transit Corp.

“All this is covering is the additional money Transit is receiving because of COVID-19,” she said, explaining a larger budget revision is anticipated in May.

The coal severance revision involves moving $5,000 for a Public Works project, with Smoljanovich explaining she wants to use as much of the remaining $27,000 in coal severance as possible before the end of the fiscal year.

“I need to get that down as much as possible,” she said.

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