WASILLA — International shortages of new vehicles and supply chain issues have begun to affect the city of Wasilla. On Monday, the Wasilla City Council unanimously approved Action Memorandum 21-45 by a 5-0 vote to authorize the finance director to direct purchase of off-the-lot vehicles as they become available for public safety, public works, and general government vehicles in a total amount of $290,000.
The Fiscal Year 2022 budget appropriated $590,000 for the purchase of $400,000 in public safety vehicles and $150,000 in public works vehicles which have since been amended down to $150,000 for public safety vehicles and $100,000 for public works vehicles.
“The reason for this AM in front of you is we’re asking council to allow administration to bypass the request for proposal process because of the supply chain being broken on these lots. The police department is in desperate need of vehicles, they’ve been on hold for a very very long time,” said Finance Director Troy Tankersly. “The deaserships have already said to us no, we are not selling to you because I can make more to the public because of the supply chain issue.”
The AM allows for the purchase of vehicles not to exceed the budgeted amount of $290,000, which previously were purchased through a state vehicle pool contract that is not being honored by local dealerships. The AM does not permit the purchase of vehicles over the listed price without returning to the council for approval.
“It just adds a little bit of flexibility to the city to try to get these vehicles, especially in WPD’s case where they’re desperate for these vehicles,” said Tankersly. “The remaining balance of the budget is subject to the same RFP protocol that we’d be maintaining.”
The AM provides for the purchase of one general government vehicle at $40,00, three public safety vehicles and two public works vehicles at $50,000 each. Councilman Jordan Rausa questioned if the AM was allowing approval of $290,000 spent on vehicles in general or if the budgeted line items must be adhered to. Rausa also clarified that the city would only be purchasing new vehicles.
“It’s a total authorization of 290 but split three ways,” said Public Works Director Archie Giddings. “We don’t want to buy any used vehicles, we have lots of those.”
The AM was unanimously approved by a 5-0 vote.
“We’ve never had to come to council and ask for more money to budget for more vehicles. The departments have stayed inside the budget,” said Tankersly. “The rate hikes on these vehicles now, yeah I mean it’s very possible we might not find a $40,000 vehicle and if that’s the case then yes, back to councilman Johnson’s question would we come back to council to have to increase that line item for that particular vehicle yes we would.”