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New Police Helicopter Financing Before City Council Monday

City Manager Michael Beck has proposed a $2.4 million financing plan through SunTrust Bank

Published on Sunday, June 14, 2009 | 5:09 am

The purchase of a new helicopter for the Pasadena Police Department was approved by City Council in September, now the Council will vote on whether to approve the credit financing plan for the purchase during its Monday meeting.

If the resolution is passed at Monday’s regular City Council meeting, then a $2.4 million financing plan through SunTrust Bank would secure the purchase of a MD500E police helicopter, according to the meeting agenda.

The PPD currently has a fleet of five helicopters, and will be selling one of its old ones to offset the cost of the new aircraft. The existing fleet is aging, in constant need of repairs, and is the equivalent of automobiles with 500,000 miles on them, according to the agenda document.

The annual cost to the city, if the resolution is passed as written, would be about $271,337 in payments for nine and a half years, according to the agenda document. The total amount financed would not exceed $2.4 million.

However, the 4.1 percent interest rate SunTrust has offered within the drafted financing papers will expire this Saturday if the finance agreement is not finalized by City Council and City Manager Michael Beck. The money for the annual helicopter payments would come from Pasadena’s General Fund, according to the agenda document.

The helicopter would be secured from the Arizona-based company MD Helicopters, Inc. The PPD conducted extensive research into what aircraft would run with a little noise as possible as well as quality radio technology, according to a news release.

“The MD 500E was selected for a variety of reasons,” said PPD Capt. Bob Mulhall, director of the air operations division. “Its speed, durability, maneuverability and overall performance are unmatched in the light turbine class. Just as important in the urban environment is the MD 500E’s noise signature. That’s why the department selected the four-bladed quiet tail rotor system.”

City officials and City Council members were not immediately available for comment as of press time Sunday morning.

Pasadena City Council will vote on the resolution Monday during its 6:30 p.m. meeting, which is held at City Hall Council Chamber, 100 N. Garfield Ave., Room S249.

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