Groton City approves funds for elections, new police cruiser

Groton - The mayor and City Council approved two spending measures Monday night.

First they moved $8,800 from the elections contractual services account for the current fiscal year to the same account in the 2012-13 budget.

The money will be used to cover, among other election-related expenses, the cost of printing and advertising for proposed changes to the City Charter, which will be a referendum question on the November ballot.

"We also have an election in May," Mayor Marian Galbraith said Monday. "We'll need to use some money for that, as well."

A public hearing on the charter changes is scheduled for next Monday at 7 p.m. in the City Municipal Building.

The mayor and council also approved spending $24,630 to buy a new 2011 Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser.

The city will buy the car from a Marlborough, Mass., car dealer because the New Jersey company that has the contract to sell cruisers to Connecticut departments did not have any in stock that meet the city's specifications, finance Director Mike Hillsberg said.

Hillsberg said the new Crown Victoria will join two others the department has on hand, but not on the road. The city is stocking up on the Crown Victorias because Ford has switched to manufacturing Tauruses for police cruisers.

He said the city would save, for the time being, about $10,000 that it would cost, per vehicle, to refit the Taurus cruisers with radios, Mobile Data Terminals and other equipment.

Hillsberg said that despite the car costing nearly $1,100 more than it would have from Connecticut's authorized dealer, it was worth the price.

"A lot of municipalities are doing the same thing," he said. "Nobody wants to be the first to use the Taurus. We don't want to be ahead of the curve, before the kinks are worked out. We want to get in the middle."

c.potter@theday.com

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