Carbon Hill will face decision on police car leases


CARBON HILL - The Carbon Hill City Council will face decisions in the future about what to do about police car leases, some of which now cover vehicles that are not even working. 

During Tuesday's council meeting, City Clerk Sherry Garner told the council during the normal review of the bills to approve that lease payment for vehicles was due in May, costing $19,000 at the time.

"That's one thing that hurts us a lot are lease payments for vehicles, especially lease payment for vehicles that are not in operation," Herron said. "The good thing is we have one more to go, and then we'll be out of that," Garner said. Herron said she thinks there is an option where "we can turn them in and get new vehicles. But that's going to leave us under payments. Or we can pay these off and we own them for a dollar apiece."

She was reminded only one vehicle leased was working, but Herron said, "We need vehicles. What we've got, we're patching together. The two that are tore up are not doing us any good." Other bills for the police are essentially to repair and maintain keep some Dodges on the road running, she said. 

"We're either going to pay for something or we're going to fix what we have," Herron said. "We're going to spend money patching these Dodges, or we can trade these in and go into another lease, or we can pay these off next year and try to find something and buy somebody else's used - which you're just buying somebody else's stuff that we have to continue to patch." 

The Dodges were from 2017, but Herron added they were not well maintained, except for the one used by Police Chief Antoine Cobb. She said he maintained his regularly through the years, while other officers came and went, and didn't work hard to maintain them. 

Now, Cobb has set up a record keeping system to document how the vehicles are being maintained, she said. 

"Prior to him doing that, we have nothing. We don't know," she said. "All I know is when we dropped that oil pan and I ran my finger in there, it was that deep in black sludge. That's not good."