EDINBURG — This week the city council here approved the first major public safety purchases since Mayor Richard Molina assumed office in November.
The purchases, which include new vehicles for both the police and fire departments, amount to approximately $1.26 million, which Molina said is the largest public safety purchase in the city’s history.
A former police officer, Molina ran in part on a platform of improving public safety.
“We knew that public safety was at the top of the list … and we wanted to earmark that money early on,” he said of the new council’s spending priorities.
On Tuesday, Edinburg City Council members approved the purchase of 20 2018 Ford Interceptor SUVs for the police department, at a total cost of $693,019.
They also approved the purchase of a new fire truck, amounting to $592,193. The truck is equipped to respond “not just for fires, but for medical response and hazardous materials, too,” Fire Chief Shawn Snider said in a statement.
The funds for these vehicles come from the city’s fund balance. Akin to a savings account, the fund balance amounted to between $4.5 and $5 million prior to Tuesday’s purchase approvals, Molina said.
The city council is expected to approve the purchase of two additional fire trucks within the next two weeks, Molina added. Those will each cost slightly less than the one approved Tuesday.
Molina emphasized that these purchases will save the city money in the long-run, noting that, “we’re going to save quite a bit of money not having to constantly repair our aging fleet anymore.”
The SUVs and new fire truck are expected to be added to the city’s fleet by early fall.