Council votes to revamp city car fleet with hybrids
Officials say plan has been in works for years
Published: Monday, February 27, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 03:02
Newark City Council unanimously passed a motion at a Monday meeting to authorize the replacement of 12 city cars with hybrid vehicles following energy efficiency recommendations by the state.
Carol Houck, interim city manager, said the city received a $25,000 state grant that allowed them enough funding to approve the purchase of a collection of hybrid Ford, Chrysler and Chevy vehicles that cost $372,511. The council submitted an application for the grant six months ago.
"We've been trying for a few years to get the numbers to work," Houck said.
Newark Mayor Vance A. Funk III said several cars will be used by employees of various city departments. Four of the vehicles will be used as police cars, one of which will be unmarked.
Funk said the city received the funding because the project fit the criteria of the Delaware Greenhouse Gas Reduction Projects Grant, which is awarded to projects that will result in measurable reduction of greenhouse gases.
"There's a greenhouse grant initiative through the state of Delaware that permits municipalities and counties to apply for grants to enhance environmentally friendly projects in a community," Funk said.
District 6 Councilman Stu Markham said the council began talking about a possible switch to hybrids years ago.
"I'm glad to see this come to fruition," Markham said. "I think four years ago we had a major discussion."
He said council members will need to determine if the hybrid cars save the city money and if they require significant maintenance.
District 2 Councilman Jerry Clifton said he wanted the council to consider extended service contracts for the cars once their warranties end. He said it can be expensive to replace damaged equipment in hybrid cars.
Houck said the city would consider the request for extended warranties.
District 5 City Councilman Ezra Temko thinks the hybrid cars will display Newark's willingness to work with the state toward environmentally friendly initiatives.
"This has been an issue that we've talked about for many years," Temko said. "I've seen legislation come back and forth about our participation in the regional greenhouse gas initiative."