Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera on Wednesday requested four new vehicles for his department, citing excessive maintenance and high mileage on older vehicles in service.
Barrera said the sheriff’s office needs a new corrections van for transporting prisoners to and from court hearings and/or state prisons, as well as a new police cruiser for the same purpose and two new patrol vehicles.
The sheriff said the corrections van currently in use has high miles and needs frequent repairs, and a cruiser being used for transport is actually the office’s old DARE cruiser.
“We’re kind of getting in desperate need,” he said.
Barrera said he has identified one van with no equipment for $35,000 and another fully equipped for $51,000.
Barrera said he would also like to purchase a “couple new patrol vehicles,” adding that the Ford Explorer Police Interceptor is a good replacement for Ford Crown Victoria interceptors and capable of off-road use.
He said unequipped Ford Explorer police cruisers can be bought for about $36,000.
The sheriff added that his office did not purchase any new vehicles last year, and the most recent model in use is a 2018. Barrera also said an auction could help the office recoup some of the funds spent on new vehicles.
Commissioners discussed the possibility of a lease agreement with Enterprise where vehicles could be rotated in and out of service, an arrangement currently employed by Highland County Job and Family Services.
Commissioners asked Barrera to leave the price quotes for further review and discussion.
Abernathy asked Barrera for the status of a new microwave backup 911 system at the sheriff’s office, which will reportedly save the office enough money to purchase a body scanner for the jail. Barrera said the system is in working order and prepared for launch, and he has been mulling which body scanner to purchase.
Barrera also said there is an upcoming meeting beginning union contract negotiations and updated commissioners on maintenance issues at the sheriff’s office and jail.
The commissioners also heard from Nancy Baldwin, president of the Hillsboro Garden Club, about the group’s activities and its 90th anniversary this month.
In attendance were Vice President Shelly Rayburn, Secretary Jennifer West, Region 16 Director Carol Gorby, Judith Stinvender, Arlene Huiet, Teresa Cudkowice, Liz Stritenberger and Rose Marie Cowdrey.
Baldwin said the garden club formed in 1929, and there are currently more than 20 members.
Commissioners issued a proclamation commending the garden club on its anniversary.
Commissioners also discussed a number of maintenance items and approved routine financial resolutions and contracts.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570.