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For sale: 1 Crown Vic, 35,570 miles
By Benjamin Gedan, Globe Correspondent, 2/22/2004

The 2000 Ford Crown Victoria that ferried former Mayor Dorothy Kelly Gay to countless ribbon-cuttings is being auctioned next Saturday, along with 12 vehicles the city's new administration has declared extravagant or useless.

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced the plan in his inaugural address in January, eliciting cheers from invited guests and grumbling among city officials losing a long-established perk.

Police Chief George F. McLean, who relinquished his 2001 Chevy Tahoe, said the policy jeopardized public safety. The fire chief, Kevin Kelleher, also lost 24-hour access to his 1998 Ford Explorer.

Facing a possible $7 million deficit, city officials said the policy would spare Somerville unnecessary expenses for gas and maintenance. Officials also collected hundreds of gasoline cards and cellular phones.

The public safety chiefs will retain access to their vehicles at work, but several other confiscated cars are facing the auction block. The mayor's sleek, green automobile, with 35,570 miles on it, goes on sale at 10 a.m. at the Department of Public Works lot on Franey Road.

It will be joined by three white SUVs, removed from the Public Works and Traffic and Parking Departments. The city did not release an estimate of potential revenue from the sale of the Crown Victoria; 2000 Ford Explorer XLT; 2002 Chevrolet Trail Blazer LS; and 2002 Chevrolet Trail Blazer.

Curtatone, who drives his personal 2004 Volvo S80, said the sale could yield over $20,000 for the cash-strapped city. "The money is still significant," he said. "Everything helps."

The city is also selling aging equipment from the Department of Public Works, including a 26-year-old pickup truck and a 19-year-old plow.

Largely symbolic, the sale is not expected to truly narrow the budget gap. "Is it going to offset the deficit? No," Curtatone said.
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