Friday, July 03, 2009

Dumb and dumber lease a car

This is so stupid, I don't know where to start.

Unless, of course, it's by just skipping writing anything and proceeding straight to banging my head against the wall.

OK, I'll start by saying this: Omaha, generally, is a city that can withstand idiot politicians without missing a beat. The Big O's new mayor, however, is going to put us to the test.

Sometime in the next four years -- if not the next four months -- I predict we'll not only cry uncle, we'll be crying "Walt Calinger." If not "Fred Conley."

HE HASN'T been in office a month, but Mayor Jim Suttle -- who, indeed, has been anything but subtle -- already has established a firm routine . . . a modus operandi, if you will. Whatever the issue, we can count on Suttle to do stupid things, then leave it to his flack, former Channel 42 weatherman Ron Gerard (think the "Weird" Al Yankovic movie UHF here), to say stupid things by way of explanation.

Which brings us to the continuing saga of the mayor's overpriced hybrid SUV.

This morning, the Omaha World-Herald is reporting the interest rate on the city's lease for the official land barge comes to a cool 24 percent:
Jim Suttle's aides ignored the first rule of car shopping when picking the new mayor's SUV: Check the fine print.

The result: The lease on Suttle's Dodge Durango hybrid carries an interest rate of 24 percent.

That's nearly triple the average leasing rate and the rate paid for former Mayor Mike Fahey's leased SUV, based on a World-Herald review of both contracts.

The World-Herald reported last month that the Durango's annual payments were $15,717. That amount was later lowered by altering the payment schedule to $13,745. Even then, dozens of readers were left scratching their heads at the cost.

Suttle's spokesman defended the high interest rate, saying the city paid more to be able to return the SUV at a moment's notice, if needed, with no penalties. That's one feature of what's called a municipal lease, spokesman Ron Gerard said.

“It was one of the few options available,” Gerard said.

Suttle's transition team, however, didn't shop for other lease terms. Several readers asked why the city didn't buy the vehicle outright.

“The city doesn't have the money to buy vehicles,” Gerard said in an interview. “The city has an $11 million shortfall.”

Under the lease agreement, Omaha taxpayers will pay $14,000 in total interest over the four-year lease.

A leasing expert with the auto buying Web site called a 24 percent rate “outrageous.”

“Just simply looking at it from the market perspective, it looks like they paid too much for the premium,” said Jesse Toprak, a senior Edmunds analyst.
DUMB IS paying 24 percent interest for a mayoral land barge when the city's broke and cutting everything in sight. Dumber is explaining -- with a straight face . . . and perhaps a slack jaw -- that the reason the city's overpaying by thousands and thousands of dollars to lease a land barge is because it can't afford to buy one for $14,000 less.

Because, after all, “The city has an $11 million shortfall.”

Apparently, the city also has an IQ shortfall at city hall. Hang on folks, this is gonna be a rough ride.

P.S.: Damn, I almost forgot. Wanna know who was one of the geniuses negotiating the SUV lease for Suttle? This guy.

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