ELLSWORTH — The city will have up to two electric cars after councilors approved a three-year lease through state program Efficiency Maine, which reimburses municipalities for the lease cost at the time of signing. City Manager Glenn Moshier had recommended councilors move forward with the no-cost lease.
“I look at it as a unique opportunity for the city to explore what is probably in our future,” he said.
The vote was 5-1, with Councilor Michelle Kaplan voting against the measure because of issues that surround mining cobalt for the lithium ion batteries, which are used in electric car batteries as well as in laptop and cell phone batteries.
Moshier said electric vehicles could be use by code enforcement employees, by the city’s IT systems administrator, Jason Ingalls, as he checks on traffic signals and by other staff traveling on work-related business. He said using city vehicles eliminates some liability issues associated with employees using personal vehicles and that electric vehicles could reduce departmental travel expenses.
In other vehicle-related business, councilors unanimously approved the purchase of two 2022 police cruisers, a Ford Explorer, for $35,350, and a Chevrolet Tahoe, for $41,368. Councilor Gene Lyons suggested the city sell the old models itself rather than trade in “or keep one for a runaround vehicle,” pointing to the $6,000 trade-in value. “That’s wicked low.”
Public Works truck requests were also approved: A 2022 1-ton four-wheel-drive work truck for the Water Department for $33,334 and a 2022 International tandem wheeler plow truck for the Highway Department at a cost of $191,928, with the 2006 model to be auctioned off.
For all new vehicle purchases, the city requests bids from area dealerships.