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Ads may adorn on emergency vehicles

The Berkeley County Commission threw its support behind the idea of getting two ad-covered SUVs for $1 apiece.

The Berkeley County Commission threw its support behind the idea of getting two ad-covered SUVs for $1 apiece.

December 20, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Steve Allen is not picky.

If it means he gets one or two new, heavy-duty sport utility vehicles for the Berkeley County Office of Emergency Services, Allen said he doesn't mind if the SUVs have advertisements on them.

"I don't care if it says 'Eat at Joe's' on the side," said Allen, director of OES.

Allen is asking that a North Carolina company supply his office with two SUVs, at a cost of $1. In return, the vehicles would come with local, regional or national ads on them.

The company, Government Acquisitions Inc., pledges that sponsorship would not be permitted for alcohol, tobacco, gambling, firearms or any other business it deems inappropriate. Vehicles would be replaced every three years, according to Government Acquisition's Web site.

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After hearing of the program recently, Allen applied for two three-quarter or 1 ton SUVs, which are needed to tow the Family Fire Safety House and weapons of mass destruction response equipment that is expected to arrive in the region in the next six months.

The SUVs also would be used when needed to respond to emergencies, Allen said.

A Ford Explorer currently in use by OES cannot tow the equipment, Allen said, and the office does not have the money needed to buy the SUVs.

At their meeting Thursday morning, the Berkeley County Commissioners approved asking for the SUVs, meaning Allen can now send back additional paperwork.

"Right now it's more or less 'Fill this out,' and they'll get back to us," he said.

Allen said he does not know when the vehicles would arrive, assuming OES is approved to receive them.

The idea of emergency equipment sporting ads does not bother Allen, he said, as long as the ads are "within reason."

"I don't have a problem at all with supporting the people who support us," he said.

Norwood Bentley, legal counsel for the county, requested that the commissioners move forward with the idea.

"It seems like a good deal to me," Bentley said.

Although he approves of the idea, Berkeley County Commission President Howard Strauss said he wants to ensure ads on the vehicles are acceptable, and plans to review them beforehand.

"We should have final say on that," he said.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said last month his department is considering the possibility of ads on police cruisers and he plans to pitch the idea to Hagerstown Mayor William Breichner, the City Council and the police union.

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