La Grange trustees narrowly agree to buy seven squad cars
Updated: May 6, 2013 2:12AM
LA GRANGE — It often pays to shop around, but a year’s delay has cost the village $21,000 in buying new squad cars.
Following a sometimes heated exchange, the Village Board voted 4-3 Feb. 25 to buy seven new squad cars for up to $206,000 through a state purchasing cooperative.
Village President Liz Asperger sided with trustees Bill Holder, Jeff Nowak and Mark Langan to make the purchase over the objections of Jim Palermo, Mark Kuchler and Mike Horvath.
In addition to the price per car rising by $1,676, the trade-in value dropped from $5,500 to $4,150.
Trustees balked at the replacement cost quoted a year ago in the state contract and asked to buy new cars every three years, instead of every two years. The board added another $15,000 for repairs during the extra year of researching options and learned an additional $5,000 has been spent with more than two months left in the fiscal year, which ends April 30.
Horvath, Palermo and Kuchler said they favored revising the way squad cars are purchased by going out for bids, extending how long squads are used and not relying on the state purchasing co-op. They pointed to lower prices for the Ford Taurus, rather than the Chevy Caprice selected by the co-op.
Police Chief Michael Holub said he favored the Caprice for several reasons, though he had initially liked the Taurus.
Holder was critical of the delay and additional expenses in buying new police cars.
“This is an absurd level of micro management,” Holder said. “We have professionals we have put in place to do these jobs with the experience, expertise and an incredible track record.”
Kuchler said he was offended by Holder’s remarks. Horvath said trustees “should agree to disagree.”
Asperger said trustees should provide oversight and ask questions about ways to cut expenses and reduce the burden to taxpayers.
But the board also should allow the professional staff to run the village on a day-to-day basis and concentrate on directing policy and direction for the village, she said.