The Britt City Police Department could soon have a new patrol vehicle.

The City council approved purchasing a new vehicle by accepting a loan from First State Bank during their regular meeting June 18.

The $30,000 loan will have a fixed interest rate of 4.75 percent with no prepayment fees, penalties or extra interest payments for early payoff and no additional fees to draft the loan documents.

The City plans to apply for and hopefully receive a grant through the U.S. Department of Agricultural, which would cover 90% of the costs. If the City were to receive the grant, the funds would be used to help off the bank loan.

The City of Britt has created a general policy of rotating the police vehicles every three years, as suggested by former Police Chief Dan Cummings.

“We had found ourselves in several instances where we were spending so much money on maintenance and repairs on the older vehicles," Mayor Ryan Arndorfer said. "Chief Cummings felt it was important to put us on a scheduled rotation. You hope to avoid some of that maintenance from replacing your vehicle as opposed to driving it until it only starts half the time you want to use it, like the [Dodge] Durango."

Currently, the police department has three vehicles: a 2017 Ford Explorer for their K9 unit, a 2014 Ford Explorer and a 2011 Chevy Tahoe, which was purchased to replace a 2009 Dodge Durango.

“The Tahoe was purchased to maintain our fleet of three vehicles,” Police Chief Mark Anderson said. “It was to be replaced last year, but we were able to hold onto the Tahoe for another year and replace it with the new 2019-20 fiscal year budget.”

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The Tahoe, a base model SUV, currently has about 70,000 miles on it, according to Anderson.

Arndorfer said there should have been money kept in a reserve police budget for the last two years before Anderson became chief, but that has not happened, so Anderson has been working on applying for grants.

“[Anderson] has a little bit of concern of spending the entire amount to purchase the vehicle out of one year’s police budget,” Arndorfer said. “He just doesn’t want to put too much strain on any of the other things they need to do.”

One of the grants Anderson looked at was a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture but all funds had been distributed  for this year. However, Anderson can reapply in August for the next cycle, according to Arndorfer.

Arndorfer said the city needs to order a new vehicle now so it will arrive sometime in the next eight weeks to the end of the year; otherwise, the vehicle won’t arrive for another year.

With the loan from First State Bank, the City will be able to purchase the vehicle and spread the cost over a couple years, hopefully receiving the grant in August, and paying off the loan, according to Arndorfer.

At the meeting, the City had not decided which vehicle to purchase, but Arndorfer said the city is looking to purchase a police pickup truck rather than an SUV to provide the officers more flexibility and some different capabilities.

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