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City sees no hurry in finding new police chief
February 07, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Scotts Bluff County Commissioners voted to schedule a public hearing at their meeting in two weeks to consider a request for two more patrol cars for the Sheriff’s Department.
During the last budget hearing, the expenditure was denied by the county board. However, members told Sheriff Mark Overman he could purchase the vehicles if he came up with an alternative source of funding.

The sheriff found the money. Approximately $73,000 of department fees has been building up over the past 10 years. The county also received $119,000 in insurance claims for damaged sheriff’s vehicles from last summer’s hailstorm.

The monies were turned over to the county’s general fund last December. But Overman proposed purchasing the vehicles using $45,000 of the insurance money they did not use to repair the vehicles and $16,000 from their fees account. He told commissioners the two new vehicles would cost about $61,500.

Of the cars Overman wants to replace, one is a 2006 Crown Victoria, the last of its model in the fleet of 17 vehicles. The other is a 2008 Dodge Charger – and each of them has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. He said deputies will usually put from 20,000 to 25,000 miles a year on a vehicle.

“I wonder if we would be doing right by doing this,” said Commissioner Sherry Blaha. “I would support purchasing one vehicle with the money the sheriff saved from the insurance. But I don’t think it would be fair to all the other departments that also had to cut their budgets this year.”

But Commissioner Steve Stratton said he didn’t see a direct correlation between sheriff’s fees and any other department’s fees. “This was more of a windfall of funds that weren’t accounted for in the budget. The sheriff isn’t using all the money, but I think we should let him use some of it as it was his discovery.”

Overman said his department will need to replace two more vehicles next year. That funding will need to go through their regular budgeting process.

“These new patrol cars aren’t a luxury,” Overman said. “I need to have the right equipment so the deputies can safely do their jobs.”
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