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Hobart Happenings: Squad car savings reallocated

By Janelle Fisher
Staff Writer

HOBART – At its Tuesday, Oct. 18 meeting, the Hobart Village Board approved the reallocation of funds previously budgeted for the purchase of new vehicles for the Hobart/Lawrence Police Department.

The 2022 budget included a total of $72,000 to cover the cost of purchasing two new squad cars.
Since the village approved an agreement with Enterprise at its July 19 meeting to begin leasing police vehicles, the amount budgeted to purchase the vehicles was no longer needed.

A portion of that already budgeted $72,000 will instead go towards completing two projects in the police department that would otherwise have been included in next year’s budget.

By reallocating the funds, Village Administrator Aaron Kramer said the village is not spending any additional money than was already budgeted for, but will lessen the amount needed for next year’s budget.

“We have a slight surplus, because it’s not actually money that we spent,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re not saying we need more money. We’re reallocating it to these projects and that takes about $47,000 out of next year’s budget that I won’t have to put in the capital fund and that we can now utilize for other projects.”

Equipment upgrades
$30,958.40 will be used to cover equipment needs, including radios, pistol purchases, camera systems, Fast ID and upgrades to the department’s Taser system.

Replacing the Tasers, Kramer said, is a high-priority need.

During a recent inspection of the department’s Tasers, four were found to be inoperable and beyond repair.

Additionally, nine of the department’s eleven Tasers are models which are no longer supported by the manufacturer.

Upgrading the department’s Taser system will ensure all officers have the equipment they need and that their equipment functions properly.

Evidence room upgrades
$13,250 will be used to fund improvements to the department’s evidence room.

Evidence management is an important element of the criminal justice system, and it is necessary that evidence is handled in a way that it is not compromised, contaminated, or degraded and that its chain of custody is tracked.

Kramer said the department’s current design and setup of the evidence room is limited in space, but that the proposed upgrades would make sure the available space is maximized, enhance physical security and accountability and incorporate current technical trends.

Those goals will be accomplished by replacing the current metal lockers with standard shelves to utilize more vertical space and adding a safe to the room to provide another layer of protection for high value items, narcotics and firearms.

Whatever remains of the original $72,000 after these projects have been paid for, Kramer said, will serve as a cushion for other projects that may go over budget.

“It’s a cushion,” he said. “In the event that the salt shed project was for some reason going to go over or one of the other projects was going to go over, for the past couple years I’ve tried to put a contingency fund in the capital just in case something goes slightly over budget so that we have some coverage – and that’s essentially what this becomes.”

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