By Frank Lewis
Portsmouth City Council will consider purchasing and donating a $27,180 vehicle to the Southern Ohio Port Authority at Monday night’s Portsmouth City Council meeting. According to the agenda of the City Manager’s Report, the city would replace a request from SOPA for $25,000 by purchasing a 2014 GMC Terrain 4 wheel drive 4-door wagon, valued at $27,180.
“As a part of an informal agreement the city of Portsmouth was to contribute $25,000 a year toward the operation of the Port Authority,” City Manager Derek Allen said in his report. “The $25,000 was an operating expense and not a capital expense so it was decided that the contribution would have to come out of the 101 General Fund and not the 301 Capital Improvement Fund. The city of Portsmouthd did not have $25,00 available in the general fund of the 2014 budget to provide for our commitment.”
Allen said, during discussions with SOPA Director Jason Kester, Kester mentioned that his job was taking a toll on his personal vehicle because he was driving his personal vehicle in ways it was not built to handle such as driving off road to tour various non-developed sites and that it had also come up at meetings regarding Portsmouth’s financial inability to contribute financially to SOPA.
“It was during these discussions that it dawned on me that we could not contribute to the financial operation of SOPA (through the general Fund) but that we did have Capital Improvement money available for the purchase of a vehicle,” Allen said in his report. “The proposal that I presented to Mr. Kester and that he presented to the SOPA board would be an interagency agreement where the city of Portsmouth would purchase a vehicle for SOPA to utilize as the city of Portsmouth’s 2014 contribution.”
Allen said SOPA would be allowed to utilize the vehicle as the organization seers fit and it would be SOPA’s to use until either SOPA was no longer in existence or until such time that the vehicle was no longer needed by SOPA, and at that time the vehicle would be returned to the city of Portsmouth.
Allen said Kester analyzed several types of vehicles and settled on the 2014 GMC Terrain 4-door wagon for $27,180 and according to the invoice from Glockner’s, the vehicle comes with a $1,500 rebate.
Allen said in the 2015 budget the General Fund revenues that had been allocated to pay property taxes on city owned property would be budgeted as the city’s contribution. Allen found out recently the city had been paying property taxes on city owned property that it should not have been paying.
City council will also discuss donating a 1989 1500 GPM Sutphen pumper that had originally been assigned to the Hilltop Fire Station, but had been in reserve status since 1997. In 2012 the vehicle was removed from service entirely due to a variety of mechanical issues.
Allen said the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) has expressed interest in obtaining it to replace their 1970s model truck and that Portsmouth Fire Chief Bill Raison is of the opinion the city should give it to SOCF, which has, on several occasions, provided valuable support to the city.
“The vehicle has deteriorated so much I am almost embarrassed to give it to the SOCF,” Allen said. He went on to say no matter what City Council decides, it is time to remove it from the city’s inventory.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.