LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Police Chief Timothy Sorrell is willing to shrink the size of the cruiser fleet, as long as newer vehicles are purchased.
Sorrell has pitched the Board of Selectmen a concept of eliminating two cruisers in exchange for purchasing newer versions. Overall, the department would reduce from six cruisers to four -- but the four would be newer.
"I've got an aging fleet," Sorrell said. "My vehicle maintenance bill is killing us."
Currently, the department owns a 2013 Chevrolet with 90,050 miles; a 2006 Chevrolet with $91,635 miles; a 2014 Ford Explorer with 101,796 miles; a 2015 Ford all-wheel-drive sedan with 162,326 miles; and a 2017 Ford Interceptor with 22,054. At the annual town meeting, voters approved the purchase of another 2017 Ford Interceptor.
Sorrell said the 2015 Ford sedan is currently undrivable. The vehicle failed emissions.
The plan is to auction the 2013 vehicle with the already approved new vehicle purchase. Sorrell is now asking for another new vehicle at a cost of $43,000 and the 2006 Chevrolet and the 2015 Ford Sedan would be auctioned.
"I'm shopping around trying to get us the best deal on the cars," Sorrell said.
The town would then operate with four cruisers but, with the exception of the 2015 Ford Explorer, all of them would have less than 25,000 miles.
"I am not overly happy giving up three vehicles to get two but feel in the long run it will be best for the department and the town to have a more reliable fleet with less overall miles and hopefully see a reduction in vehicle maintenance costs," Sorrell said.
Sorrell is also pitching software for the cruisers that reduces idling. He said the programs have been shown to decrease gas usage by 6 percent in a year.
"I think it is a good idea to get it done and put the software in by eliminating the idling," Selectman Robert Ericson said, adding that the reduction of vehicles will ultimately lower the insurance costs.
The Selectmen were supportive of the effort but it would still need to be approved by town meeting -- either next year or if there is a special one called.
In other business, a recreational marijuana shop is eyed to be opened in a small plaza location on Main Street -- the same plaza where Subway used to be located. The company plans to lease space there for the shop.
Liberty Market would open pending state license approval. The Board of Selectmen agreed to a host agreement that includes 3 percent revenue to the town, that town residents be given a priority for jobs, and that the company will work with the Police Department on security.
Further, the agreement also has a clause that allows the town to renegotiate the finances should the company reach a better agreement for a store in another town.
The company is headed by Ken Crowley and Paul Bohannon. Crowley said he's been in the medical marijuana business in Maine for a number of years and Bohannon has been working in both medical marijuana and now recreational out west. Crowley owns Herbal Pathways and Natural Health Alternatives and Bohannon is the president and founder of Honu Inc. in Washington.
The company boasts of developing more than 150 products, owns four brands of product, and has a presence in multiple areas of the country.
The company is also required to host a community outreach meeting. Crowley is looking to do that in early July.
The board also approved contracts with Sorrell and incoming Town Manager Kelli Robbins. Town Manager Paul Sieloff is retiring and his last day in the office is June 28. He said he has unused vacation time he'd be using until July 10 and he will be available to help between the 28th and the 10th.
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Williams Women's Basketball Tops Wesleyan to Stay Unbeaten
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- Mikaela Topper scored 19 points Tuesday to lead three Williams College women's basketball players in double figures as the Ephs beat Wesleyan, 68-49, in their Little Three contest.
Maggie Meehan scored 18, and Emily Peckham added 16 for Williams.
Peckham pulled down 13 rebounds for a double-double, and Katie Brule also had 13 boards.
Williams (6-0) is home on Friday to face Wheaton College.