Seligman purchases new patrol car, increases officer salary
Walmart closure drops $22K from department's expected revenue
The Seligman Police Department recently replaced a high-mileage patrol car with a 2014 Dodge Charger.
Terry Burgess, police chief, said the vehicle was due to be replaced.
"We've bought one a year," he said. "We've always had two cars. This one was at the end of its service life so it was time for a new one at 138,000 miles."
The city completed a municipal lease-purchase, in which they pay make a one-time annual payment of $7,500.
The Seligman Walmart Neighborhood Center closing did have an impact, but the department is still operating within its budget.
"The money is there [to cover it], but the reality is that the police department budget for the year was roughly $87,000," Burgess said. "Our expected was [approximately] $102,000, so if you take the Walmart closing out of the equation, our department takes a $22,000 hit. But, we're only budgeted to spend $87,000, so we're just not going to have this surplus money. But, we're not going into the hole because Walmart left."
Along with staying within the budget, having a newer patrol car will make a difference in the community, too.
"It gives us more reliable transportation to answer service calls and patrol the city," Burgess said.
The patrol car will not have the video camera the other car does, but Burgess said he expects the city council will vote to include it at some point.
"It was part of my equipment budget charge for the year, the board just has to approve it," he said.
The city also approved a salary increase for full-time Officer Aaron Kyser.
"We're increasing the pay scale for the one full-time officer from $500 per week for 45 hours to $550 a week," Burgess said.
The salary will also help with officer retention. The city has one full-time officer, and three reserve officers, to cover patrol of the city, and Burgess contributes 30 hours per week.
Reserves help fill in gaps and during times of shortage, and include officers Matt Phillips, Hernando Ortega and Garry Thornton.
"Reserves come into work for someone who uses a holiday or sick day," Burgess said.