Gahanna police want to buy five more police cruisers this year, two to replace wrecked autos and three to replace ones that are just worn out.

Gahanna police want to buy five more police cruisers this year, two to replace wrecked autos and three to replace ones that are just worn out.

They have two choices: Dodge Chargers or Ford Crown Victorias. Those are the only full-size cars capable of meeting the requirements of police departments, according to Lt. Jeff Spence.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is buying Dodge Chargers, Spence said. Gahanna also proposes to buy Chargers.

"What about Chrysler?" council member Nancy McGregor asked. "Will it be around to service the cars?"

Spence said the issue had come up in discussions, as Chrysler is Dodge's parent company.

The other option, Ford, also could be a problem, he said. Ford has notified potential buyers that the Crown Victoria would be discontinued.

According to Ford Motor Co.'s Web site, the Crown Victoria still is available in the Police Interceptor model for 2009.

The only people who want to buy Crown Victorias want to use them for police cruisers or taxi cabs, Deputy Chief Ken Bell said during Monday's committee meeting of Gahanna City Council.

The national economy was a factor in other decisions Monday night, as well. The former chamber of commerce house at 94 N. High St. no longer is being used.

The city had intended to tear it down and pave the site for parking, but parks-recreation director Tony Collins suggested his department could use the structure temporarily to house a few parks-and-recreation employees.

Council member Tom Kneeland said utilities on the house are high, costing the city $3,300 a year.

Other council members said they were concerned about what it would cost to upgrade the house.

Development director Sadicka White said she believes the best use for the site would be to have it redeveloped and have its new owner paying property and income taxes to pay for public services.

"When is that likely to happen?" council member Tom Evers asked.

"When the economy turns around," she said.

Council asked for more information on the costs of upgrading the house.

In other matters:

Public-service director Terry Emery said he intends to introduce a "reverse auction" process to fill some city contracts. The city would go out to bid, and contractors would submit "bids" on the work to be done.

Emery said council member John McAlister first suggested the reverse-auction process a few years ago.

Emery introduced to council a long-term plan to move the city's service garage from Oklahoma Avenue to the industrial zone, where the city houses its fueling center and other services. The city has a prospective seller of about 10 acres, but Emery said it would be "years" before the entire move could be completed.

gvickers@thisweeknews.com