Illustration by Carsten Rodin/Oakland Local
With most vehicles in its fleet past their service lengths, the Oakland City Council approved a plan to replace 153 of its cars, trucks and vans across several departments on Tuesday.
The City Council voted unanimously to replace the vehicles despite a $7.7 million negative balance in its equipment fund. That number is up from a $16.4 million-low in 2008.
Without adequate funding available, city staff has pursued a 10-year, $11.8 million lease that would start with a $3 million payment next year and smaller payments thereafter.
Despite the lack of funding, a Public Works Department report claims that spending the money now to replace the city's most critical vehicles will offset skyrocketing maintenance costs - in 2014, Oakland will have to spend $25 million to make repairs on its aging fleet.
According to the PWA report, the city's fleet averages 10.7 years old, and more than half of its vehicles are past their service lengths.
The Oakland Police Department requested the most replacements - it wants more than 70 marked and eight unmarked cops cars. The next highest number is for Parking Enforcement, which wants 36 new vehicles.
OPD also has in mind what models its want to replace the Crown Victoria sedans it uses now - either the Dodge Charger Pursuit or the Ford Police Interceptor. OPD representatives at last month's public safety committee meeting expressed reservation with the Pursuit, however, saying that police forces in Hayward and elsewhere have had recent problems with the model.
An OPD sergeant at the public safety meeting said that all of the units the force is looking to replace are 2007 Crown Victorias, and that all have logged more than 100,000 miles.