COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Each year the city of College Station allocates several million dollars in savings to replace outdated vehicles, from public works trucks, to police cars, to fire engines.
This upcoming fiscal year, not only has that price exceeded $6 million, but it’s having to be spent months in advance.
“A friend of mine actually works in fleet sales," shared College Station mayor Karl Mooney in Thursday's city council meeting. "And he actually came to me one day and said ‘mayor, you better make sure your city gets their orders in now.' Because, even as they’re ordering now, we’re not even sure we’re going to be able to deliver them when we really need them still, in fiscal year 2023.”
City assistant finance director Michael DeHaven explained that an amendment made this week to the 2022 budget acts as an advance on those funds that would be otherwise allocated for next year. DeHaven said that none of this spending will require a raise in taxes.
“What we did with this budget amendment was, basically it gives us the authorization to order those vehicles about six months earlier than we normally would have," he explained. "One, it helps us lock in prices. And then it will help us with the delivery time so we can get those vehicles in next year when we need them.”
The annual vehicle replacement price usually ranges between $3 million and $6 million, DeHaven said. The $6.9 million dollar cost in this amendment comes not only because prices for vehicles have increased, but because more expensive vehicles - including two fire trucks - are needed. Additionally, the police department is expanding its fleet.
“The police department was approved to buy some new vehicles," DeHaven noted. "This would be outside of the fiscal year 2022 budget.”
While much of the $6.9 million ticket is paid for by pre-allocated savings, $245,000 will be spent to purchase five new additional Chevy Tahoes for CSPD. This money comes from the city's general fund, DeHaven explained. An extra $51,000 from the general fund is also being used to pre-order ammunition.
“The police department purchases ammunition every year," he said. "We were notified of a significant price increase that’s going to happen in a couple of months, so we decided this is another thing where we want to lock in those prices - and, the delivery times again.”
The College Station Police Department declined KRHD's request for comment.