Thursday, April 24 2014 3:47 PM EDT2014-04-24 19:47:30 GMT
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Mayor Mike Bell is asking city council to approve a new ordinance that would transfer money from the General Fund into a vehicle replacement fund, but the issue may cause a stir at Tuesday's council agenda review meeting.
Two sport utility vehicles (SUVs) – a GM Terrain and a Chevy Tahoe - were purchased by the mayor's office, and the money from the General Fund could clear up concerns about how the SUVs were purchased. But city council members are planning to ask tough questions first.
The vehicles are used to take the mayor and other dignitaries around town, but Councilman Mike Collins says the administration told council it was going to purchase three street sweepers, but instead bought only two, plus the GMC Terrain. He also said the Tahoe was bought with a luxury package during a tough economy.
The total cost of the two vehicles is almost $70,000.
"But when you continue the 3-card Monte, and you get caught, you're not going to convince anyone to tell them that the game is not crooked," Collins said.
The administration has said the purchases were legal, but Collins thinks Mayor Bell should have followed through on promises to be transparent. He said he wants lingering questions answered before he can agree to transfer $437,000 to the vehicle replacement fund.
"I think this whole thing could have been avoided as far as this part of it by a mere admission, and I think council would have accepted a mere admission," he said. "But I think tomorrow is going to be very contentious."
Collins isn't alone; Councilman George Sarantou said he will also ask questions at the meeting.
"What bothers me more is that we were not told about these two vehicles," Sarantou said. "These two vehicles were hidden from city council's knowledge and I think that is wrong. We should have been told that they wanted these vehicles, and tell us the purpose."
The mayor's office did not return the call from Toledo News Now for comment.