The Doral City Council approved a cheaper and whiter design for the city’s future police vehicles and finalized its order of business for regular meetings at a special meeting Wednesday evening.
As the police department continues to replace its 110-car fleet during the next few years, Doral’s officers will cruise the streets cars with a simpler color scheme.
The cost of striping new vehicles would be $3,000 for the current blue-and-white scheme, but only $500 with the new design. The savings to the city will add up to about $275,000, police Chief Richard Blom said.
Blom also said the metallic blue that wraps around the department’s current fleet has begun to fade. He asked Alfredo Vega, his executive assistant, to look into their options.
Blom and Vega presented different options to the council, all priced at $500 per car. The council unanimously approved a design with the the word “police” in blue letters and the city’s seal displayed prominently on the sides.
“I’m looking at it from an economic point of view,” Blom said. “Saving money on the police cars I buy.”
The council also approved an ordinance formalizing the order of business for its new split-session meetings, but not without some unexpected — and confusing — public comments.
A few hundred people packed the council chambers in support of keeping the opening prayer on the agenda for the Council’s regular monthly meetings, which are now being split into morning and evening sessions.
Several people spoke out in support of a clergy member saying a prayer before regular meetings.
This surprised those on the dais, as the invocation was never actually on the chopping block to begin with. In a previous meeting, the Council had discussed if they should have two invocations on meetings days — or one for each session — but not doing away with the prayer altogether.
“I’m not sure where this all got started,” said council member Bettina Rodríguez-Aguilera. “This was never an issue.”
In a memo to the council, City Attorney John Herin did point city leaders to case law that upholds the legality of prayer before public meetings.
According to Herin’s memo, “the City Council can legally continue to have invocations so as long as the process the City employs to select the individual giving the invocation and the invocation itself are ‘religion neutral’ ” and the city follows a procedure that does not favor one religion over another.
The council approved the ordinance without specifics regarding the invocation and asked Herin to return next meeting with a resolution to formalize a procedure for selecting who give the invocations before morning and evening sessions.
The order of business approved for regular meetings has some presentations, public comments, the consent agenda, non-controversial discussion items and reports from the mayor, city manger, city clerk and city attorney in the morning. The evening has its own presentations, public hearings, public comments and controversial discussion items.