2015-04-03 / Front Page

Board OKs highest cruiser price

By Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — The Kennebunk Board of Selectmen purchased two new police cruisers at its March 10 meeting, taking the highest of four bids submitted, which was for nearly $1,000 more than they had initially budgeted.

Earlier this year, the town solicited bids for two model year 2013 or 2014 vehicles that meet standards for use as police cruisers, having already set aside $34,000 in the current budget.

Bids were opened March 3 with the lowest offer turned in by Arundel Ford. It asked for $26,900 for a pair of Ford Fusions. Meanwhile, Marc Motors of Sanford submitted a bid of $33,870 for two Nissan Altimas. However, both dealers backdated a bit by including 2012 models in their offers. The Fusions and the Altimas also failed other bid specs, such as not having V-6 engines or a back-up camera, and requiring additional outlays for wiring, emergency lights and computer brackets.

Frank Galos Chevrolet of Saco got the model years right with its $30,472 bid on a pair of Chevy Impalas, but those vehicles also lacked the required back-up camera and, in the case of the 2014 model, a powered driver’s seat.

But what really seemed to sink the Galos offer, was a strong bias against the Impala among at least two selectmen.

“The Impala should be retired for life,” Selectman Richard Morin said. “It’s absolutely the worst car I’ve ever driven.”

“They are junk, there’s no two ways about it,” agreed Chairman Kevin Donovan, a retired state police troop commander. He said both the Maine State Police and the York County Sheriff’s Department have reported unfavorably on the Impala.

“It can’t handle the mileage,” he said.

On that assessment, the board voted unanimously to pick the bidder from away, agreeing to buy two 2013 Ford Tauruses from Portsmouth KIA.

“They’re not the lowest bid, but they met all specs 100 percent and are consistent with the rest of the fleet,” Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said.

According to Tibbetts, the extra $990 needed to cover the Portsmouth KIA bid, above what was budgeted, will be taken from the maintenance line item in the current police department budget.

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