One of the items that has really been unnecessarily depleting our budget in Helena - West Helena is the repeated and costly repairs to our aged sanitation trucks, as well as our worn and diminished fleet of police cars. The city has had no vehicle regular maintenance plan or vehicle replacement plan in place. I'm extremely happy to announce that we are making major changes to stop this budgetary outflow, to replenish our stock of vehicles, and to put regular inspections and replacement plans in place.

One of the items that has really been unnecessarily depleting our budget in Helena - West Helena is the repeated and costly repairs to our aged sanitation trucks, as well as our worn and diminished fleet of police cars. The city has had no vehicle regular maintenance plan or vehicle replacement plan in place. I'm extremely happy to announce that we are making major changes to stop this budgetary outflow, to replenish our stock of vehicles, and to put regular inspections and replacement plans in place.

With the input and research of Bobby Jones, the head of our sanitation department, Oscar Hoskins, the head of our street department, and Police Chief Virgil Green, I brought resolutions before the city council this week to address this very important issue of aged vehicles.

I'm extremely pleased to announce that Tuesday night the City Council unanimously passed these resolutions to purchase two new sanitation vehicles, which should be delivered by November, and 12 new police cars. This should save us at least $15,000 to $20,000 per month on just repairs of police vehicles. 

Besides having new and dependable vehicles on our streets and a tremendous cost savings to the city, these new vehicles will also give our sanitation workers and police officers a huge morale boost. 

Police Chief Green explains this well saying, "These new police vehicles will be an extremely positive influence on the morale of our police department. We will be assigning vehicles to officers, and they will be able to take pride in ownership and maintenance of their vehicles. I believe that the new cars will also give our citizens renewed pride in our police force."

The new police vehicles will be white with City of Helena insignias and should all be on the streets before the end of the year.

By assigning police vehicles to individual officers, we will also be able to put in place routine monthly vehicle maintenance inspections with direct accountability to the assigned officers. No eating, drinking, or smoking will be allowed in the vehicles. 

We will also be putting in place a plan that regularly evaluates and swaps out old cars for new cars at regular intervals to keep safe and reliable vehicles in our fleet at all times.

Soon, Chief Green will also be making recommendations on new uniforms for our police force, as well improved police radio communications and dispatch.

Additional announcements regarding our police force will be forthcoming.