Normandy Park City Council approves purchase of four new city police cars

By Jack Mayne

After debate over several weeks, the Normandy Park City Council voted to spend $193,000 over five years for four new police cars to replace “dilapidated vehicles” costing too much to keep on the road.

The vote came Tuesday (May 10) after Acting Police Chief Brian Sommer reiterated his and Chief Chris Gaddis’ recommendation to take a low interest state loan to get the police fleet up to top standards.

Council also heard of plans to place signs indicating Normandy Park’s city limits on First Avenue at the Burien and Des Moines city lines.

‘Make a wise decision’
Resident Karen Steele said at the outset of the meeting that she wanted the Council “to make a wise business decision, and that is to purchase the four patrol cars that are needed” by Normandy Park Police. She said the money for the four cars is already budgeted “and there is no excuse not to.”


Karen Steele

Steele said the decision to buy the cars “has nothing to do with the levy lid lift” election later in the year.

Resident Craig Daly also told the Council it should purchase all four cars that the department says it needs to replace decrepit cars that are difficult to keep repaired and on the street.

The Normandy Park budget includes money for one new police car, but a low interest loan from the state would allow the purchase of four vehicles while cutting the high cost of repairing and maintaining three other cars that have been described as dilapidated.

Finance Director Jennifer Ferrer-Santa Ines told the Council there is $45,000 in the current budget for a car, but “going with the state financing allows us to finance all four of them at one time … and allows us to address our high maintenance cost we have been paying over the past few years and provides for four new vehicles …”

Then, in the future, she said the city will continue to set aside money for future vehicles.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Bishoff recommended purchasing the four vehicles, adding the low interest loan and resulting lower maintenance cost “makes financial sense to me.”

Councilmember Kathleen Waters asked Acting Chief Brian Sommer how many cars are in use at one time and he said often it was three.

But Sommer said he had to look at the “worst case scenario and that’s why I am sticking by four vehicles to replace this aging fleet is the best thing to do.”

Four Councilmembers voted to approve the $193,000 cost of four vehicles and their maintenance for five years. One voted no, one abstained and a third was absent.

‘Who we are’
Councilmember Susan West said design and plans for signs and banners to tell all the people who drive up down First Avenue that there is a city of Normandy Park, “who we are and we are open for business.”

The process to get the signs has taken several years, she said, because of all the changes of city staff and a variety of designs, some of which were declared not in keeping with the image Normandy Park wants to present. But now, West said, with a stable city management staff, the process is nearing fruition and there are two community members who will pay for entry signs – “one at the Burien end and one at the Des Moines end.”

“Let’s get it done, but let’s just don’t pick something and stick it out there,” Councilmember Waters said. “We are Normandy Park, we are a beautiful place, we are unique for all the things we brag about, so let’s just get it right.”

At the beginning of the session, former mayor and Councilmember West was ceremonially sworn into office by King County District Court Judge David Christie, a Normandy Park resident.

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