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Chairman Oden SUV reduced in proposed price
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There was very little discussed in regards to the new SUV requested by the county chairman during the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners (BOC) work session Tuesday morning.

After two months of appearing on the BOC's agenda, the vehicle, a 2015 Ford Expedition XLT, has drawn opposition from both commissioners and the community for being too expensive of a vehicle for the chairman.

After not being approved by the board during last's weeks meeting, the requested vehicle received a price cut Tuesday. Now, the price of the vehicle is $40,766, exactly $3,416 less than before with optional equipment such as the tow packing, working lights, platinum paint and 4-wheel drive removed.

The XLT package is the only remaining optional equipment added to the SUV. The package adds about $13,403 to the standard Expedition price, which includes leather seats and a navigation system.

Even though she's not pleased with the price, Post 1 County Commissioner Doreen Williams, who initially had reservations about the vehicle due to its price tag since it was introduced at a Jan. 20 work session, seemed pleased with the compromise that has been made.

"I think it's interesting the process of coming to different decisions and the fact that compromise was really appropriate in terms of working together and trying to come up with something," said Williams. "This isn't exactly what I wanted, but it's not exactly what the chairman wanted either."

Post 1 County Commissioner Oz Nesbitt didn't say anything on the matter during the work session, but did tell The News before the meeting that the price reduction hasn't swayed his opinion of the vehicle. Even though Nesbitt "fully supported" the new vehicle in January, he now thinks that Rockdale County Chairman and CEO Richard Oden should request a 2015 Ford Explorer, which cost $29, 947.

"It's a nice vehicle," said Nesbitt, who says that he has received e-mails from people and talked with people about the new vehicle. "The people have spoken. Save the taxpayer's money."

Nesbitt also says that Oden requesting a vehicle when a cheaper, "but just as good," one is available sends the wrong message to the people.

"The message it sends... adds to the perception to the people about King Oden," he said.

The City of Conyers has two officials that have take-home vehicles, according to city spokesperson Jennifer Edwards. Chief of Police Gene Wilson drives a 2013 Dodge Charger that cost, with lights, about $26,550, and Public Works and Transportation Director Brad Sutton drives a 2006 F-150 truck that cost about $26,000 when it was purchased.

The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners will meet again during its voting session next Tuesday, Mar. 24, at 10 a.m. at the Assembly Hall building, 901 Main Street, Conyers.