The Falmouth Finance Committee recommended approximately $278,000 in capital purchases on Tuesday, September 17.
The committee recommended three police department related purchases, the most expensive being $164,000 for three new police cruisers. The department plans on purchasing three hybrid Ford Police Interceptors.
Committee member Nicholas S. Lowell said Ford changed the design of these vehicles, resulting in a higher cost.
"There is a cost increase to that, but we really have no choice," Mr. Lowell said. "Ford is driving that increase."
The vehicles have a base price of $37,000, an amount that increases to $54,400 when fully equipped with gun racks, bars, sirens and computer mounts. The new design means old equipment will not fit properly.
"They were designed to be police cars, but all the accessories that go in there are not insignificant in their cost," he said.
It costs approximately $5,000 more to purchase a hybrid Interceptor. Committee member Wendy L. Vogel asked if the fuel savings would cover that cost. According to Ford, the savings will offset the increased cost in one year.
"They're being used 24/7, pretty much, with a lot of idling time, so there should be a significant fuel savings," Mr. Lowell said. "The fuel savings should pay for the extra cost of the vehicle, even if it is a little optimistic to expect it to be paid back in one year."
The committee also recommended $35,000 to purchase 20 new work stations and software for the department.
"Twenty computers of the 40 owned by the police department are going to be replaced this year," Mr. Lowell said. "They hope to replace the other 20 next year."
Four of these computers will be placed at schools around Falmouth. This includes the Falmouth High School, East Falmouth Elementary School, North Falmouth Elementary School and the school administration building. By strategically placing computers in the schools around town, on-duty police officers will be able to write and file reports from their district, rather than return to the police station to do so.
The committee also recommended $17,903 for mobile data terminals, which Mr. Lowell compared to a heavy-duty, reinforced tablet. This purchase would replace five of the 11 mobile data terminals owned by the police department.
"These aren't just regular laptops," Mr. Lowell said. "You could throw it on the floor and pour your water or coffee on it, and it would still be good."
He does not recommend doing so.
The committee also recommended $52,000 for a utility tractor with backhoe/loader and fairway aerifier for the Falmouth Country Club. This replaces existing equipment used for ongoing maintenance at the golf court. The committee voted 10-1 to recommend this purchase, with Mr. Lowell opposed.
The cheapest request of the evening came from the beach department, which is seeking $9,350 to replace the signs at the beaches.
"The signs are 30 to 31 years of age and have seen better days," committee member Ronald C. Dyer said. "We expect to replace these signs between now and the beginning of the new year for all the beaches in town."
Mr. Dyer said the wood signs will be replaced with a different material, potentially plastic or AZEK.
"They expect [the signs] will last for decades," he said.
The committee unanimously recommended this purchase.
These purchases, alongside other capital projects and purchases, will go before Falmouth Town Meeting in November.