After putting off a vote to purchase a new vehicle for village manager since April, the Riverside village board on Nov. 21 finally voted to buy a new ride for Peter Scalera – a wait that may have saved the village a little cash in the process.

In a unanimous vote, Riverside trustees voted to spend $17,832 to buy a new four-cylinder 2012 Ford Fusion SE for the Scalera to drive. The Fusion was about $2,500 more than a 2012 Ford Focus, the other car the board was considering.

Scalera told the village board he preferred the more spacious Fusion.

“I just felt more comfortable in the Fusion, but I felt comfortable in the Focus,” he said.

The village manager’s contract calls for the village to supply him with a car.

Scalera has been driving a 2005 Ford Taurus with about 103,000 miles on it. When he gets the Fusion in six to eight weeks, the Taurus will be used by the Building Department.

The village will trade in a broken-down 2002 Ford Taurus that the Building Department has been using, and Scalera said he expects the village to receive a trade-in allowance of about $1,500 on the 2002 Taurus.

It looks as if the village is getting a good deal on the Fusion. The village will purchase the vehicle from Sutton Ford in Matteson. Riverside asked for bids under the state vehicle procurement program, and the bid from Sutton Ford was far below the $24,090 price that Joe Rizza Ford offered the village. Sutton Ford is not charging a destination fee.

On April 28 the village board took a pass on allocating more than $25,000 for a 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid from Rizza Ford.

Since then, the board also failed to act on buying Scalera a new car on two other occasions.

“We owe it to him,” Sussman said. “It was part of the contract. We just need to move on.”

Trustee Ben Sells said that while Scalera was entitled to the use of a village car by the terms of his contract.

“I would eventually like to see the village get out of the vehicle business,” Sells said.

-Bob Skolnik