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Published: Wednesday, 9/15/2004

Oregon: Debate stalls truck purchase


A $27,574 truck has spurred debate among Oregon City Council members, pitting need against best use of tax dollars.

Whether the council should buy the new truck for the parks and recreation department director has some council members understanding the need to replace the 1997 GMC Jimmy he drives for business purposes, and others saying funds would be best spent elsewhere.

A proposed ordinance asks for authoriation to buy a 2004 Ford 4X4 Supercrew truck using $27,574 from the capital improvement income tax fund, according to City Administrator Ken Filipiak.

If the truck is purchased, Joe Wasserman, recreation director for the parks and recreation department, would give the GMC Jimmy to Michael Rudey, Oregon's building and zoning commissioner.

Mr. Filipiak said the car Mr. Rudey was given to drive on business is an 8-year-old Pontiac Grand Prix that has been in several collisions and is in need of repair.

The new truck would be a better fit for the parks and recreation department because it could haul equipment and may potentially be used for emergency snow removal, Mr. Filipiak said.

"It seemed like a win-win for us," he said, with Councilman Sharon Graffeo-Rudess adding her approval.

Councilman Jim Seaman disagreed, saying the truck wasn't in the budget and could wait a year, and funding for the truck should come from parks and recreation.

Councilman James Peach added his reservations regarding the Supercrew truck with a V8 engine and several other features he said the city may be able to do without.

Mr. Wasserman replied that the cost of the truck is 3 percent less than state purchasing.

"It was a little more truck than I anticipated," Mr. Wasserman said. "But it's what was available. You have to look at what you can get at the time."

Councilman Matt Szollosi said there are higher priorities than the need for a truck.

"I agree the need is there," he said, "but I want to see us tough it out with the existing vehicles."

The city's committee-of-the-whole decided to study the proposal further before bringing it to the City Council for action.

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