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Tension rises when Oakwood council talks about police cars
City manager to give council later report
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OAKWOOD — Oakwood City Council got into a feisty discussion Monday night over the city’s police cars, which Councilman Gary Anderson described as an “embarrassment.”

The cars look like “they come off the back of a used car lot somewhere; they’re falling apart and making all kinds of crazy sounds,” he said.

Anderson suggested that, based on his conversation with Police Chief Randall Moon, the city buy four cars now, and then, at the city’s annual retreat in September, look at resuming a schedule of buying two new cars every year.

“I think we need to find the money somewhere, take it from savings, take it from whatever, to do exactly that,” he said.

The council voted 3-2 against the idea.

“If we were to do it, we would have to take the money out of what savings we do have,” said Mayor Lamar Scroggs. “And I think you would be looking at doing a (tax) rate increase in order to be able to do it.”

He also said the chief told him he and City Manager Stan Brown had agreed “that we are in good shape until the (2012) budget and they would address (police cars) then.”

The 2012 budget takes effect Jan. 1.

Councilman Sam Evans said, “There seems to be some confusion about what Gary has heard from the chief and what somebody else has heard, yet the chief is not here tonight.

“If we don’t have the money, yet we do know we need these things, I would think we would be hearing from the chief, as well.”

Brown agreed, adding, “I think you would need more information before making a judgment. It’s your call. I work for you guys, but the chief works for me. ... And we have a budget process we go through.”

In last year’s budget, other things didn’t get funded, including road paving, he said.

“I trust the chief’s judgment when he tells me they can make it another year (with police cars),” Brown said.

“I’m a bit concerned when we’ve got items coming in from a department head to a council member without the courtesy of the council member talking to the city manager about what his request is.

“... We can communicate other than within this chamber.”

Brown said if he had known about the matter, he could have presented it as an agenda item, looking at costs, as well as pros and cons and other issues.

“I will tell the council that if there is ever a concern of an officer being able to do his job and having adequate equipment, I’ll be the first to bring it to you.”

Brown wrapped up by saying he would investigate the matter fully and report back to the council.

“You work through the police chief and decide where we are at and what we can ... and can’t afford,” Scroggs said.

“I’ll also give you the consequences,” Brown said. “I’ll show you the cash that we have and the impacts.”