The Manistee Police Department no longer needs to receive approval from the city council before a budgeted vehicle purchase.  -  Photo: Canva/Government Fleet

The Manistee Police Department no longer needs to receive approval from the city council before a budgeted vehicle purchase.

Photo: Canva/Government Fleet

As the effects of the supply chain crisis continue to make vehicle procurement challenging for public sector fleets, a Michigan law enforcement agency adjusted its vehicle purchasing process.

With order banks opening for only a short window of time, only to quickly close because of an abundance of orders, fleets are often forced to find alternative means to purchase vehicles, whether through buying used or purchasing straight from a dealership. Either of those options tend to require quick action, with many buyers purchasing vehicles as soon as they find them.

The city of Manistee, Michigan, adjusted its process for approving vehicle purchases to streamline the process because of this.

Adjusting Purchase Processes to Overcome Supply Chain Challenges

The issue came up because the police department was in need of new vehicles to replace aging vehicles in its motor pool.

Previously, purchases over $25,000 had to go before the city council for approval, even if they were budgeted purchases. The time it took to seek that approval often meant increases in vehicle prices and availability, the Manistee News Advocate reported.

An adjustment to the purchasing policy for the city will allow for the purchase of vehicles and equipment that were previously approved in the adopted budget without further council approval. When the police department puts together the budget for its motor pool, it estimates the cost of individual purchases that will be needed, according to the News Advocate. That is then calculated into the city's entire budget that is approved by the city council.

The newly adjusted policy applies to purchases within 15% of the budgeted amount up to $80,000, according to the city council meeting agenda for Nov. 21, 2023.

At its Nov. 21 meeting, the city council unanimously approved the change and requested staff create a procedure in place to notify the council in writing when a purchase is made, including the price of the vehicle.

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