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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Leesburg commissioners bless purchase of police vehicles and replacement tractor

Leesburg commissioners agreed Monday night to spend more than $108,000 on three vehicles for two city departments – an action that saved a little more than $15,000.

The approval came during the commission’s regularly scheduled meeting and involved two police vehicles and an agricultural tractor. Commissioners quickly agreed that all three vehicles were needed and their approval was unanimous.

The city will spend $56,742.40 for two all-wheel-drive Ford Police Interceptor utility vehicles. The purchase, approved in the 2019 budget, will allow Police Chief Robert Hicks to immediately replace two vehicles.

Leesburg City commissioners approved the purchase Monday night of two all-wheel-drive Ford Police Interceptor utility vehicles from Prestige Ford in Mount Dora.

A memo from Purchasing Manager Mike Thornton said the city normally would make such a purchase through a Ford dealership, which would work with Ford Motor Company. But he said the automaker has closed its orders for the 2019 model year, meaning any new orders would be for 2020 models and those wouldn’t begin shipping until June 2019.

But two 2018 Interceptors were located at Prestige Ford in Mount Dora – the Florida Sheriffs Association awarded dealer for police vehicles in the region. And by issuing a purchase order and acting fast to buy the two vehicles, the city is saving $15,020.44 on the cost of 2020 models, the memo says.

The city’s normal budget for a police vehicle is $42,900, which includes $10,380.34 for accessory equipment (lights, siren, cage, etc.). That leaves $32,519.66 for the purchase of each vehicle, meaning the two new Fords are $8,296.92 under budget, the memo adds.
Commissioners also gave their blessings for the purchase a $51,834 agricultural tractor from Mid-Florida Tractor & Equipment Co. The recommendation to purchase the tractor from the local vendor was partially based on a delivery time of 14 days after receipt of the order and “their reasonable bid amount,” a memo from Thornton says.

The tractor, which was approved for purchase in the 2019 budget, will be assigned to the city’s wastewater division and will be used primarily for mowing. It will replace an existing piece of equipment that suffered a “catastrophic engine failure” and is no longer in service, the memo says.

The city received seven bids for the tractor, with the price ranging from $49,098 to $56,400. The lowest bid came from Ridge Equipment in Sebring, but the delivery time for the much-needed piece of equipment was 45-60 days.

Five other companies offered a delivery time of anywhere from 30 to 140 days. But Mid-Florida Tractor’s promise of a two-week delivery time proved to be a crucial element of the purchase decision, the memo says, adding that the bid also came in under the city’s budgeted amount of $52,000.

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