FREDERICK COUNTY, MD – Overworked police cruisers, out-of-commission dump trucks, and nearly 20-year-old trash haulers are some of the 95 vehicles being replaced in the City of Frederick’s fiscal 2009 proposed budget. Accounting for more than one-quarter of the city’s 351 vehicles, the replacements come after a period of time the city has neglected to maintain a consistent vehicle replacement program, according to www.fredericknewspost.com.

Mayor Jeff Holtzinger, who has proposed an $88.1 million budget, said he had been anticipating a significant vehicle replacement program for a year and a half. The city is also budgeting an additional mechanic. Cash reserves will allow the city to pay one lump sum of $3.3 million for the vehicles, according to the city’s finance department.

Holtzinger said he wants this to be the start of consistent vehicle replacement schedule based on specific criteria, something he said he remembers the city never doing.

For example, police cruisers would be replaced after 100,000 miles or five years of service, but each vehicle would be considered on a case-by-case basis. The police department could get 59 new vehicles or more than half of their fleet of 110.

Patrol cars will be replaced with newer models of the Chevrolet Impala, a vehicle the department shifted to a few years ago because it had front-wheel drive, a lower price, and was more suitable for city streets.

Other vehicles to be replaced under the proposed plan include two trash trucks at $200,000 each, a 55-foot bucket truck at $175,000, a street sweeper for $170,000, and a $15,000 beverage cart for the city golf course.

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