Several West Point police cruisers may soon be powered by propane fuel if the city is awarded the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant through the Mississippi Development Authority-Energy Division.
A special meeting of the Board of Mayor and Selectmen was held Monday night to discuss the grant program, which would allow some city vehicles to be converted to clean burning energy. It was determined that the only city vehicles that qualify for eligibility of the grant was the police department's eight new 2009 Crown Victorias.
The board, who met urgently due to the application deadline of Sept.1, passed a resolution to authorize the city to apply for the grant.
Mayor Scott Ross said the grant not only allows West Point to participate in the nation's long-term goal for energy independence and leadership on climate change, but it would save the city money as well.
“It's a 100 percent grant, and there's no matching investment on behalf of the city, whatsoever,” Ross said. “The idea is that the (vehicles) will burn cleaner, probably last longer and fuel cost should be less.”
The grant would also pay for 100 percent of the cost of a propane storage tank so the police cruisers can stay refueled. A converter kit for each vehicle is $5800 and the tank would be around $7,000, Ross said.
Chief Administrative Officer Randy Jones said vehicles older than 2006 do not qualify, nor do diesel vehicles. Converter kits for newer models are not available, so 2010 vehicles do not qualify. Dodge and Chrysler vehicles are also ineligible for the grant.
Jones said because of the benefits of using propane fuel, the police vehicles will be able to endure a lot more than they would by just using regular petroleum.
“They say you can go about twice as long on your oil change because of cleaner burning technology,” Jones said. “You don't get the carbon and petroleum residue that you get out of burning petroleum.”
The maximum award for the grant is $50,000 and Ross said any other incidental costs that would get the city up and running on this project would be covered by the grant.
This grant program, developed through the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009, was also designed to stimulate the creation or increasing the retention of jobs, to increase the energy generation from renewable resources, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. The MDA-ED allotted $250,000 to promote fuel economy and clean air through alternative fuels vehicles and hybrid vehicles. These funds are allocated quickly, so projects that are started and completed in a timely manner will be favored.