Saturday, April 10, 2021

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County orders new fleet for Behavioral Health 

The Colusa County Board of Supervisors were split 3-2 over the $45,000 per year lease of six new 2021 model vehicles slated for the Behavioral Health Department. 

The six new vehicles will replace seven models declared surplus earlier this month, most of which are less than 10 years old. Four of the vehicles have less than 150,000 miles on them. 

While there was general consensus on the board that several of the department’s vehicles needed replacing, including a 1997 Ford Taurus with about 156,000 miles on its odometer, there were conflicting opinions, including the type of vehicles selected as replacement. 

The dissenting vote of Supervisor Daurice Kalfsbeek had far more to do with why a Behavior Health staffer would need a 2021 high powered Dodge Charger, an American muscle car used typically by law enforcement for its high speed capabilities. 

“In my mind, that is not a county vehicle,” Kalsbeek said. “In my mind, it is a pursuit vehicle.” 

The Board of Surplus declared two passenger vans, a 2013 and 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan, which they will replace with two Chrysler Voyagers. 

The county will also replace, in addition to the 24-year-old Taurus, a 2007 Ford Fusion, 2005 Crown Victoria, 2007 Ford Fusion, and a 2001 Expedition. 

“I’m looking at vehicles with 140,000,” said Supervisor Merced Corona who also voted against the lease. “These are used to transport people at regular speeds, 55 mph or 70 on the freeway. I don’t see 148,000, 149,000 as high mileage.” 

In addition to the new Chrysler Voyagers and Dodge Charger, the board will replace the surplus vehicles with a 2021 Nissan Rogue, a 2021 Hyundai Elantra, and a 2021 Ford Expedition. 

The lease ranges from a low of $354 per month  for the Hyundai to a high of $761 for the Expedition. 

The Dodge Charger, at $513 per month, and Chrysler Voyager, at $556, both are equipped with cages. 

While Tyler acknowledged the Charger is typically a law enforcement vehicle, she said the selection of the high performance muscle car had more to do with it being a large four-door sedan needed to transport patients in crisis. 

 “It’s a high powered vehicle, but it is a vehicle with a cage,” she said. “It will be used to transport clients who are in need of placement or intervention.” 

The remaining vehicles will be used for transporting clients to doctor appointments and for staff to drive to training. 

While some of the vehicles did not have particularly high mileage, Tyler said they had mechanical conditions that made them unreliable. 

Behavior Health is the third Colusa County department to enter into a lease agreement (as opposed to purchasing outright) with Enterprise Fleet Management, which county officials said saves taxpayers money over time, because the monthly lease includes general maintenance.

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