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BOC defers Oden's new vehicle request
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Rockdale County Chairman and CEO Richard Oden will have to continue to drive his ten-year-old vehicle a little while longer. 

The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to defer Oden’s request for a new 2015 Ford Expedition XLT vehicle to a later meeting.

Post 1 County Commissioner Oz Nesbitt made the motion to defer the item, but it was Post 2 County Commissioner Doreen Williams who was the main opponent of the agenda item at the board’s work session last week.  Her main issue dealt with the price tag attached to the vehicle. 

During Tuesday’s regular meeting, she further elaborated on her view.

“My concern has nothing to do with purchasing a new vehicle for the chairman,” said Williams. “Simply, perhaps we want to get something that’s not quite as expensive.”

The large SUV Oden requested costs $44,756 and was factored into the county's 2015 capital budget during last year's budget discussions. It comes with optional equipment added, such as the XLT package, the towing package and the 4-wheel drive, which adds $17,393 to the cost of the standard vehicle.

It would replace the 2005 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer currently driven by Oden. The 2005 Ford Expedition was purchased for $34,360 during former-County Chairman Roy Middlebrooks' tenure and has accumulated over 111,000 miles on the engine.

Oden says the current vehicle he drives is a top-of-the-line edition for the 2005 model year and that this new vehicle would be a “downgrade” because it’s not the high-end model for the 2015 year. 

The Ford Expedition Platinum EL, which retails for about $60,000, is the high-end model for 2015, says Oden, and that would be the comparable model to his current vehicle.  

“Obviously the downside to this is in terms of some packaging, which I don’t think I need it, so I’m just going to let that up, and I appreciate the line of questioning and the hurdle,” said Oden. 

He further explained why the newer vehicle was warranted. 

“(The 2005 Expedition) is a ten-year-old vehicle with over 120,000 miles, probably going to add another 10 (or) 15,000 by the end of this year,” said Oden. “In terms of seating, I’m a pretty big fella, and I do host a lot of dignitaries in this community from out of the region, out of the state, and I think your leadership, we have adequate transportation that is comparable to those who come into this community.”

Williams recommended purchasing a new vehicle that was less expensive and, during the work session last week, used the Rockdale County Coroner’s request, which was approved during Tuesday’s meeting, for a 2015 Ford Explorer, which would cost the county $29,947, as an example.

The 2015 Ford Expedition comes with a 3.5 liter, V6 Ecoboost engine, has seating for about eight adults and gets an estimated 15 miles-per-gallon in city driving and 20 mpg on the highway.

In other county business:

The board approved a contract for the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office to Motorola Solutions. The contract will pay Motorola $33,549, from federal discretionary funds, to install a bi-directional amplifier system, which increases the transmission capabilities of signals, at the Rockdale County Courthouse. 

The board approved another contract with Motorola Solutions that will supply the RCSO with 8 mobile radios. The radios will cost $24,868.

The board approved a contract with Mansfield Oil Company in the amount of $1.37 million dollars to supply county vehicles with gas and diesel fuel for the whole year of 2015.

The board will meet again during its work session next Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 10 a.m. at the Assembly Hall building, 901 Main Street, Conyers.