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Chesterfield approves vehicle purchases

The Chesterfield City Council has approved the purchase of a number of vehicles, including one that is somewhat out of the ordinary and that three councilmembers didn’t think was needed.

The unusual purchase was a mobility cart that anyone with problems accessing certain public meetings at city hall will be able to use. Although the structure fully complies with all federal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, city officials have received comments related to problems using the access ramps on both sides of the front entrance.

The Finance and Administration Committee reviewed the matter at an earlier meeting and voted to recommend the purchase of a four-wheeled, motorized scooter to be available for meetings of the council and planning commission.

Although Councilmember Tom DeCampi [Ward 4] made the motion at the F&A Committee meeting to recommend buying the scooter and all members of the panel, including Councilmember Ben Keathley [Ward 2] supported it, both opposed the acquisition when the council voted 5-3 to approve it. Councilmember Michelle Ohley [Ward 4] joined them in voting no.

Before the vote, DeCampi and Mayor Bob Nation raised concerns about potential liability issues. Nation also questioned if there is a real need for the cart.

The scooter’s cost is $2,500, and the city will publicize its availability in printed and online media. Anyone using the device will bypass the metal detector at the meeting room entrance and be subject to a wand screening instead.

The purchase of 11 new replacement police cars was unique in its timing and the city’s ability to save money in the process.

According to a memo from Police Chief Ray Johnson, the city will save $4,000 on each of the 2019 model police cars by placing the order by Sept. 21. The production run on the vehicles will be limited due to retooling for 2020 models that will carry a $4,000 higher price tag.

The cars won’t be received and paid for until 2019 and will be included in that year’s budget.

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