By Margie Plunkett
Thanks to anonymous donations, the Ocean Ridge Police Department is getting a new police car that had previously been cut from the budget.
The commission in December accepted the donation of $30,000 from the Ocean Ridge Support Group, which was made by the anonymous donors, for the purchase of a 2013 Ford Explorer for the police force.
“We have a terrific opportunity for the Ocean Ridge residents,” Chief Chris Yannuzzi said at the Dec. 3 meeting in announcing the donations earmarked for the police car.
Up to $5,000 would be taken from the contingency fund to cover any additional money needed for the car.
When asked by Commissioner Zoanne Hennigan the identification of the donors, Yannuzzi said, “The folks wish to remain anonymous,” although he indicated it was multiple people.
He also pointed out that purchases made possible by the support group become the property of the town.
Yannuzzi’s request for two new police cars outfitted with laptops — to the tune of $68,000 — was not financed as commissioners worked to balance what’s been an ever-tightening budget.
“We’ve had the opportunity to drive the car,” Yannuzzi said, “and it handles unbelievably.”
Gulf Stream has also ordered one of the SUVs but hasn’t gotten it on the road yet, he said.
When resident and former Commissioner Betty Bingham suggested that any cash left over after the purchase could be put in a separate fund, Dr. Lynn Allisson, who was acting as mayor for the evening, pointed out the money was designated only for the car.
The two police cars were proposed for purchase in the last budget season and survived a couple of rounds of cuts. By the end of September, however, they became casualties of budget-cutting.
In separate business, Town Attorney Ken Spillias noted that in a letter to the commission, former Mayor Ken Kaleel indicated that he had been asked by Ocean Breezes LLC — which was before the commission several years ago — to represent the group on a site plan.
Spillias said because of the time that has lapsed, he did not view it as detrimental to the town. Commissioners directed the staff to prepare a letter of informed consent allowing the representation.
By Margie Plunkett