Council to consider updating emergency vehicle fleet

Income tax measure to be presented

By Joshua Keeran -

The city of Urbana’s safety services could have three new emergency vehicles at its disposal pending City Council’s approval during its 6 p.m. meeting today in municipal court chambers.

Administration is poised to request council sign off on the purchase of two police cruisers and a pickup truck for the fire division. If approved, all three vehicles would be purchased locally from White’s Auto Group at a total cost of $100,796.94.

All three of the proposed purchases are included in the 2017 budget and would be charged to the Capital Improvement – Police & Fire Tax Levy Fund, the measures state.

The two purchase requests involving the Urbana Police Division (UPD) are for a 2017 Dodge Charger ($28,504) that would replace a 2011 Charger with 86,000 miles on it and a 2017 AWD Ford Explorer ($35,375.82) that would replace a 2013 Charger with 90,000 miles on it.

On the fire side, administration is requesting council approve the purchase of a 2017 Ford F350 pickup truck at a cost of $36,917.12.

Measure seeks to increase income tax rate

After much discussion between administration and council over the past month concerning the need to add to the safety services staff, particularly within the UPD, council will hear the first reading of an ordinance seeking to add an additional 0.6 percent tax on income to the current 0.4 percent tax rate in effect for safety services.

If approved by council after three readings, the proposed income tax increase for safety services would be placed before voters in November.

The city’s current income tax rate stands at 1.4 percent, with 0.4 percent earmarked specifically for police and fire/EMS operations and capital improvements.

Discussions regarding whether to ask city residents to support an income tax increase began to heat up last month in response to the rising drug crisis sweeping the country.

Both members of council and administration expressed concerns over the current staffing levels within the UPD, which is down four to five officers from 2010.

Police Chief Matt Lingrell said recently that he has 18 officers at his disposal and is budgeted to hire another. In 2010, he said, the division had 23 officers.

In other business:

•Administration will seek approval for a purchase order to Hull & Associates for an amount not to exceed $83,050 for gas compliance and remediation activities at the city-owned landfill.

•Council will consider a request to pay Fluid Dynamics $14,500 for the purchase of a liquid polymer blending system for the belt filter press at the city’s Water Reclamation Facility.

•A request to pay Superior Painting $12,550 for materials and labor required to prepare and paint 15 traffic signal poles and one crossing signal pole will be presented to council.

•Council will hear the second reading of an ordinance seeking to amend the city’s official zoning map by rezoning Subarea C (a 1.023-acre parcel on Lippincott Lane near Walmart) from fuel station use only to principal uses allowed in the B-2 General Business District.

Income tax measure to be presented

By Joshua Keeran

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.