Seven new police SUVs will soon be rolling around Bluffton.
Bluffton Town Council on Tuesday approved a $200,000 loan to purchase the 2013 Ford Explorers customized with a police package.
The new patrol vehicles will replace seven older police vehicles, said Police Chief Joey Reynolds.The age of those vehicles was not available late Tuesday.
BB&T will provide four years of financing at a 1.35 percent rate. The bank was one of five groups to submit bids.
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The new vehicles are part of the town's ongoing vehicle replacement plan. Seven more are scheduled for purchase next year.
"If you don't periodically replace them, you get stuck with a big fleet cost all at once," Reynolds said.
In other Bluffton news:
Council voted to only offer the poorest Bluffton residents help with home repairs and improvements. Since 2009, the town has helped low- and moderate-income residents earning no more than 80 percent of the Beaufort County's median income help of $68,900 with home remodeling and repairing through its Bluffton Neighborhood Assistance Program. Council voted to lower the income requirement to 60 percent of the county's median income. "That way, those who need it the most will get the help," said Bluffton Mayor Lisa Sulka.
Bluffton is making progress in the sale of homes in its Wharf Street Redevelopment project in old town, officials said. The town, using federal stimulus money, replaced two blighted structures last spring with six homes. Two homes remain on the market. A two-bedroom home is expected to sell soon while a second, smaller, one-bedroom home may have to be rented. Council passed a resolution last year allowing unsold homes to be rented as is required by grants funding the redevelopment project.