of Parkersburg struggles to find used SUVs | News, Sports, Jobs

PARKERSBURG — Buying used cars has proven to be a challenge for the city of Parkersburg.

The 2021-2022 city budget includes $20,000 each for code enforcement, development, engineering and finance services to purchase used SUVs to replace a quartet of 2007 Chevrolet Trailblazers used by employees of these services.

“All four have been driving miles around town for 15 years,” said chief financial officer Eric Jiles. The one used by Finance “broke down several times in the bank’s drive-thru.”

But after four tenders, the $80,000 allocated was not enough.

“It’s an inventory problem” Jiles said.

As automakers struggle to keep up with demand for new cars due to shortages of semiconductor chips and supply chain issues, more and more people have turned to power vehicles. occasion, which also drove up those prices. The Associated Press recently reported that analysts at Edmunds Automotive Guide predicted the average price of a used vehicle to hit $30,000 in 2022.

“We are looking for four used compact SUVs” Jiles said during a Parkersburg City Council finance committee meeting this week. City engineer Adam Stout added that they were looking for 2016 or later models with less than 50,000 miles and a one-year, bumper-to-bumper warranty.

An additional $7,500 for each department’s purchase was requested in a series of budget revisions that the committee approved and sent to the full board on Thursday. Jiles said the combined $30,000 would come from other purchases made from the capital reserve fund that were under budget.

“So it’s just kind of a reassignment of those things,” he said.

Finance Committee Chairman Zach Stanley asked if the administration had reviewed any new vehicles or considered delaying purchases until after the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.

Mayor Tom Joyce said new car prices were also higher due to supply issues.

Jiles said if the city calls for tenders again this fiscal year, it will be later in the spring or early summer, in the hope that prices will drop by then. They will also likely write the offer for “up to” four vehicles instead of four at a time, which could allow them to buy from several suppliers.

“Inventory is very inconsistent right now, so it seems that by asking for four cars, we’re at the mercy of what any dealership has on hand at any given time.” Jiles said.

Evan Bevins can be contacted at [email protected]

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