Cooperation fueling Bellaire vehicle purchase

BELLAIRE – Bellaire Police Chief Mike Kovalyk is still looking for that raise for his officers.

The department has received just one raise in the last decade.

The village’s current financial state dictates that a bump in pay isn’t likely to come to fruition any time soon.

However, Kovalyk and his department have been reaping the benefits recently of inter-governmental cooperation between the village’s police and water departments, along with the court system in Belmont County.

Kovalyk, along with Village Administrator Dan Marling, announced a deal the two had in the works in relation to the selling and subsequent purchase of a new cruiser of the police department.

Instead of going outside village government to try and fetch a reasonable price of sale for one of the police department’s older Ford Crown Victoria cruisers, the water department is going to purchase it.

The department needs a new vehicle for the meter reader.

So while the “miles per gallon” rating of the Crown Vic may be more than the other vehicles Marling was considering for purchase, he’ll gain the piece of mind knowing the usage and maintenance history of the PD’s cruiser.

“We had another vehicle in mind and it was more efficient fuel-wise,” Marling noted. “But knowing the history of the cruiser, even though it will take a bit more gas, in my opinion, that vehicle has been well taken care of.

“We know the longevity we’ll be able to get out of it.”

Marling said he’s trying to implement a fleet management system so that when the police department gets done with a particular vehicle, it can move down the line to different departments. When the vehicle’s capital worth is depleted, it can head to the junkyard.

“Another bonus is that we’re keeping the money in-house,” Kovalyk added.

The cost of the purchase will be $5,500. Council approved the sale with a 6-0 motion in favor.

Kovalyk said there will be a meeting Wednesday to discuss putting together specifications for the new cruiser.

  • In February, Kovalyk announced that Eastern Division Court and Judge John Vavra agreed to assist the Bellaire Police Department, along with other department’s in the county, by agreeing that any law enforcement agency in the county transporting arrestees on outstanding warrants to the county jail will receive $20 in transportation costs.

In the last month, the other courts in the county fell in line.

Judges Frank Fregiato and Eric Costine from Northern and Western Division courts, along with Mark Costine from the juvenile court, agreed to similar fee structures for all county departments.

It’s not a large sum of money. However, it goes a long way into paying for fuel costs and vehicle maintenance that area departments incur picking up people on outstanding warrants and transferring them to St. Clairsville.

“I want to thank Judge John Vavra for taking the lead, as well as judges Frank Fregiato, Eric Costine and Mark Costine. We should start seeing some results soon after the mechanics are worked out on how we’ll be paid,” Kovalyk said.

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