By DAVID SEELEY
The Poteau Daily News
POTEAU – The LeFlore County Commissioners had a special meeting Wednesday afternoon at the LeFlore County Court House in which the board approved a lease purchase for $200,000 between the LeFlore County Sheriff’s Department and First National Bank to purchase four vehicles.
LeFlore County Sheriff Rodney Derryberry explained the need for the lease purchase as well as why the vehicles are needed.
“We had a budget approved to purchase some vehicles,” Derryberry said. “We did have the vehicles on order through Dodge. About three to four weeks ago, we were informed that we might get them — we might not. We were told then we did have them.”
Then, circumstances changed once more.
“They called (about a week and a half ago) and said they had canceled them after they did their letter of intent, which is usually something that says ‘You are getting this vehicle … it’s been signed,'” LeFlore County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Paul Moss said. “That gives you the green light that everything has been ordered. The updates came down and spoke with me and got everything hashed out. Then, the next day after we did all this, they canceled it. It was so bad they canceled everything in Oklahoma for Dodge stuff — and Chrysler wasn’t manufacturing anything new.”
“What we got into when we went to other dealers, whether it was GM or Ford, some of them were not taking orders and some were backlogged,” Derryberry said. “Ford has some current one on the assembly line, but that’s it due to everything happening on the national level. It doesn’t just affect us. it puts us in a position where we need vehicles — and need them rotated out. Right now (Wednesday afternoon), my vehicle is out in the field. We have several vehicles in the shop. Two of them are getting outfitted, but the other ones are getting worked on. Now that they’re beginning to shut down these assembly lines and canceling these orders, we have to go for whatever a dealership might have already — if it’s a decent price.”
After getting an OK from the LeFlore County District Attorney’s office, Derryberry and the LeFlore County Sheriff’s Department talked with First National Bank.
“With the financing part of it and all that’s occurring, all these dealerships are like, ‘We have two vehicles here,’ so we have to try to lock in a price, then lock in the financing immediately — or those vehicles are gone,” Derryberry said. “First National Bank approached us, and said, ‘If we ever needed anything, holler at us.’ We hollered. We tried to look at purchasing them out of our own stuff, too, and that right now is not feasible. We got with (LeFlore County Second Deputy Clerk) Gina (Rogers), and at the same time we met with the DA’s office, too. If we can find the vehicles, we know where two are right now, and possibly four. If we can lock those vehicles in and the financing, we were going to be guaranteed those vehicles. We’re in a situation where we have to have them, or we’re going to be in bind eight or nine months from now. I never dreamed we’d be in this situation. In lieu of all that, that’s why we’re asking for (the board) to consider this.”
“We aren’t going to consider it … I make a motion to approve it,” District 3 County Commissioner and Board Chairman Craig Olive said.
District 2 County Commissioner Cody Covey seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.
“They’re being manufactured in Detroit,” Moss said. “One dealership is in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The other is in Salem, Indiana. Salem will deliver both vehicles for $900 flat rate from 11 hours away. That was pretty good.”
However, before Moss from the time it took to talk with First National Bank and to get ready to finalize the deal with the Salem plant, those two original vehicles the plant had on the lot had gotten sold to someone who bought them for higher than the selling price. However, he said the others will be coming in within the next two to six weeks, and that the VIN numbers were on the document to show they are being manufactured.