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Cheaper SUV for Oden to be discussed during work session
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After questions came up about its cost, certain items have been removed from the 2015 Ford Expedition XLT that was requested by Rockdale County Chairman and CEO Richard Oden that make the vehicle nearly $4,000 cheaper.

The Rockdale County Board of Commissioners (BOC) chose to take no action on the new SUV for the chairman during last week’s voting session, with both Post 1 County Commissioner Oz Nesbitt and Post 2 County Commissioner Doreen Williams still concerned about the cost of the vehicle. 

Now, the price of the vehicle is $40,766, exactly $3,416 less than before with optional equipment such as the tow packing 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.

The vehicle has received backlash from both commissioners and the community for being too expensive of a vehicle purchase for the chairman. Both commissioners have stated that a better purchase would be a Ford Explorer, which the Rockdale County Coroner requested and received for a cost of $29,947 to the county’s capital budget.

At the original cost of $44,756, the chairman’s requested SUV was factored into the county's 2015 capital budget during last year's budget discussions. Williams initially had reservations about the vehicle due to its price tag since it was introduced at a Jan. 20 work session.

Williams, who does support getting the chairman a new vehicle but not one as expensive, refused to speak on the change in price until the board’s work session tomorrow. 

Nesbitt initially supported the new vehicle in January but is less than enthused about the same vehicle now. Like Williams, he supports a vehicle upgrade for the chairman, but, even with the altered price, still thinks Oden should go with the Ford Explorer. 

“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 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 board will meet tomorrow, Mar. 17, at 10 a.m. at the Assembly Hall building, 901 Main Street, Conyers for its work session to discuss this item and other agenda topics.