Lanesborough Eyes Reserves For New Police Cruiser

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The Board of Selectmen want to go through all of the options instead of simply replacing the damaged cruiser with another car.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen are preparing to dip into reserves to purchase a new police cruiser.

The board will go to the Finance Committee and request those funds and, in the fall, ask voters to replenish the account. Selectmen are eyeing a maximum of $30,000 to replace a damaged vehicle.

That means two brand-new cruisers could be on the road this year because another has already been approved and ordered.

However, in return for two new cars in the same year, the Selectmen are also thinking of delaying the next purchase. The town replaces a cruiser every two years.

"If we're going to end up with two new cars now, maybe we should put off the new car in two years until three years," Selectman William Prendergast said.

Voters already approved splitting the cost of a new vehicle with the Baker Hill Road District. That vehicle has already been ordered and will be delivered to the town in the fall, according to Police Chief Mark Bashera.

While one new car is already purchased with a trade-in, the other cruiser was recently damaged in an accident. Bashera said the subframe of that patrol car was damaged after an officer hit a rock in the Vacation Village parking lot late at night.

The town's insurance will cover just short of $10,000 to fix it. He said he was looking at replacing the car with a used one as well as save money by the department transferring the equipment itself.

"Now I need to expedite to get another cruiser here," Bashera told the Selectmen. "I am going to save as much as I can on this."

Bashera said he hoped to keep the cost below $20,000. The board, however, asked Bashera to look into new vehicles instead including all-wheel drive ones. In the meantime, police are borrowing a patrol vehicle from the Berkshire County sheriff's department.

"If everything went through, we'd have three patrol vehicles," Bashera said.

Police have six vehicles in all — three patrol cars, a K9 vehicle, the chief's car and a backup four-wheel drive SUV. By purchasing an all-wheel drive patrol car, it could delay the purchase of a new four-wheel drive vehicle, the Selectmen hope.

Board members are also considering the replacement of the fire chief's vehicle and with the new police cars, they are wondering if there is a way to "marry" the interests — such as giving the backup four-wheel drive vehicle to the Fire Department or reducing the number of vehicles in the Police Department.

Bashera said he will get prices for all of the options and report back to the board at a later date.

Lanesborough is using a patrol car from the Berkshire County sheriff's department until a new one is purchased.
In other business, interim Town Administrator Joseph Kellogg said the town has received eight applications for the full-time administrator position.

The board is opting to replace Kellogg with the town's first full-time administrator and will be asking for additional money to fund the position at a special town meeting on July 31.

Kellogg said he has advertised the position for 30 days on * for $125, for 30 days with the Massachusetts Municipal Association at $135 and with The Berkshire Eagle for one day at about $600.

The board hopes to fill the position by September.

The town will also call a joint meeting with the Williamstown Board of Selectmen 30 minutes before July 31's special town meeting to fill Jack Hickey's seat on the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee. Hickey resigned from the board last month.

"Anyone interested in serving on the committee until the fall when the seat will be filled by election, they need to send a letter to the Board of Selectmen," Kellogg said. "The appointment this group is making will only last until the fall."

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