A town-provided SUV for the first selectman?

The first selectman may be getting a new town vehicle.

The proposed budget of First Selectman Stephen J. Vavrek includes $30,000 for a motor vehicle, which Vavrek said would be a four-wheel-drive vehicle. This would enable the town’s leader to get around better after events such as major snowstorms and hurricanes.

“It actually hinders the first selectman to not have four-wheel drive,” Vavrek told Town Council members during a budget workshop Thursday night. “It’s 24/7,” he added, referring to the hours involved in doing the job.

In the aftermath of some severe storms, he has needed to be picked up by public works vehicles, which Vavrek called an “inefficient” use of other municipal employees’ time.

First selectmen have four-wheel-drive vehicles — usually SUVs these days — in many towns that provide vehicles to their chief elected officials, according to Vavrek.

 

Cost may be less

If the budget item should be approved, Vavrek said it’s not a certainty that a new vehicle would be purchased. He has been working with police officials on possible prices. “It would probably be less than $30,000,” he said.

Currently in town government, Vavrek said, he believes the Monroe Police Department has two four-wheel-drive vehicles that are used by detectives and the town fire marshal has a four-wheel-drive vehicle as well.

The new fiscal year begins July 1, so if the upgraded vehicle should be included in the approved budget it’s likely the vehicle would be purchased sometime after that date.

The vehicle is listed under “Equipment” in the first selectman’s office budget. There also is a $1,200 “Vehicle Expense” line item that routinely appears in annual budgets of the first selectman’s office.

 

Now drives used sedan

The first selectman now drives a used sedan supplied by the town. The cars given to the first selectman for his or her use in office in Monroe generally are ones that previously have been used by other departments, such as police or public works.

The new vehicle would be for the occupant of the first selectman’s office, no matter who that might be. Vavrek will be up for re-election this November, if he should decide to run again.

 

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