The City’s shopping isn’t slowing down. Following the adoption of the budget for the 2024 fiscal year, Gulfport City Council approves a series of resolutions making various purchases for the City. At the November 7 Gulfport Council meeting, the City approved four resolutions to buy things for City operations.
Three of the four resolutions approved during the meeting focused on new vehicles for City works.
Gulfport Marina Truck: Resolution 2023-101
The City approved a new 2024 work truck for the Gulfport Municipal Marina. The marina has a $40,000 budget for this, but the resolution included the possibility for a $6,000 budget amendment. Council chose from three options for the vehicles: A Ford F-150 regular cab pickup truck ($39,439); a Ford F-150 Super Crew hybrid pickup truck ($42,644); and a Ford F-150 Lightning E-Truck ($45,780). This began a discussion that stretched throughout the meeting, about the viability and necessity for electric and hybrid vehicles in the City.
Tom Nicholls, director of Gulfport Public Works, presented his research on which vehicle would work best for the City. He told Council the electric and hybrid vehicles wouldn’t be available until next year at the earliest. He also said the electric vehicle would suffer from damages created by the salty air of the marina. Finally, he said, the hybrid’s fuel efficiency wouldn’t come into play, as the travel distances aren’t far enough.
Council approved option one, with a no from Councilmember April Thanos (Ward I).
Gulfport Building Maintenance Truck: Resolution 2023-102
This resolution followed a similar structure, looking at a new work van for the building maintenance division. The public works division budgeted $57,000 for this. The first option is a 2023 Chevrolet Express 3500 low -roof cargo van ($40,597.90). This vehicle is available immediately. Option two is a 2024 Ford Transit T-350 low-roof cargo van ($54,867). This vehicle would be available, at the earliest, in the spring of 2024. The third option is a 2024 Ford E-Transit T-350 low-roof cargo van ($56,738). This is the electric option, estimated available within a year.
Nicholls explained that this new vehicle is not immediately necessary, but the current vehicle is due for replacement. Along with this, the electric vehicle would require maintenance in the future, as the current vehicle is 16 years old. However, an electric vehicle would need a battery replacement after 8-10 years. Despite this, Gulfport resident Richard Fried shared his opinion on the matter.
“I’m sick and tired of talking about it and not doing anything about it,” said Fried. “We’re not carbon neutral. Bite the bullet. Suck it up. We all need to suck it up. I’m willing to suck it up. If you need to raise a few dollars, raise my taxes.”
Thanos made a motion on option three, but did not receive a second.
“Clearly, I’m outvoted again,” said Thanos.
Council approved option one, with a no from Thanos.
Gulfport EMS Truck: Resolution 2023-104
The next resolution dealt with a new vehicle for Gulfport’s EMS Coordinator. This resolution allows the City to purchase a 2023 F-150 Eco-boost truck for the Gulfport Fire Department. Pinellas County will reimburse 75% of the cost of this truck, up to $37,500. This truck replaces the Fire Chief’s current vehicle, which is now a backup vehicle at the station. Generally, Fire Department administrator vehicles get purchased through the Florida Sheriffs FSA23-VEL31.0 Bid. At this time, the two dealerships that are a part of this bid do not have any vehicles available. City staff was able to find a vehicle at AutoNation Ford in St. Petersburg for about $1,300 less than the contract price. While there is an electric option, it costs about 65% more, and there are none available.
The resolution passed unanimously.
That’s not all that happened at the November 7 Gulfport City Council meeting. Read overheards and presentations.
Tasers for Gulfport Police Department: Resolution 2023-103
Gulfport Police Department will get 18 new Tasers, thanks to Resolution 2023-103. This resolution approves the purchase of 18 new Taser conducted energy weapons (CEW). Along with accessories and licenses, this will cost $46,080.02. The GPD has been using these “intermediate” weapons since 2005, provided by Axon Enterprises. Axon is the only manufacturer of these Tasers for law enforcement use. The warranty on these weapons is five years, and Axon will not support an agency’s use of any Tasers older than this.
GPD currently uses Tasers that are at least six years old. In 2017, the City purchased 28 tasers for $36,000. Because of the significant price increase, only the 18 patrol officers will have the new Tasers.
“If we were to use a Taser, and it resulted in serious injury or death, Axon would not come to support us after the warranty is up,” said GPD Chief Robert Vincent. “To replace all of them would be over $100,000. I don’t like the price, but right now there isn’t really another option.”
The resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2023-105 looks at increasing the Marina budget because of increased fuel prices. This will also lead to increased revenue for the marina. The Gulfport Marina experiences high levels of boat traffic annually, and because of this, the increased prices allow more money to come through the marina.
Resolution 2023-106 approves a budget amendment that accounts for emergency expenses that came from Hurricane Idalia. These expenses totaled roughly $150,000. The resolution also approves emergency repairs. This includes a $27,525 payment to Enterprise Marine, and a $36,425 to Adams Construction Services. These were repairs that were made to the Casino dock, Veterans Park pier, and other damages from Idalia. 75% of the costs will get reimbursed by the Federal Government, with another 12.5% from the State of Florida. The remaining 12.5% is on the City.
Both of these resolutions passed unanimously.
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