HOULTON, Maine — Town councilors on Monday evening tabled a suggestion to consider a pilot project between the Houlton police and the public works departments that would have had the town’s mechanics fixing police cruisers.

Although both Chief Tim DeLuca and Chris Stewart, superintendent of public works, were confident that it would save the town money, councilors wanted more information to be certain before they voted to officially approve the project.

DeLuca told councilors that he had surveyed six local garages to see what they charged for labor rates so he could determine the cost to repair cruisers. Each business quoted him a price of more than $50 per hour.

After talking with Stewart, he determined that it would be cheaper to pay the two mechanics who are working for the town an overtime rate of $27.60 per hour to do the repairs.

“That would be a more than 50 percent savings,” said DeLuca. “They could do it during their availability and stay over at night or on Saturday or during the summer when they work only four days of the week.”

He said that the town could try it for six months and if it didn’t work out, the department could take the cruisers back to local dealerships for repairs.

Stewart said the public works mechanics would be too busy to work on police vehicles during the week, but that both mechanics were on board with the idea.

Council Chairman William McCluskey questioned the men about what the impact would be on workers compensation and on wages in the long term, but those figures were not readily available. McCluskey said he supported saving money, but didn’t feel like he had all the facts necessary to make a decision. He also was afraid of burning out the mechanics.

Councilor Raymond Jay also had questions about where the mechanics would get parts to fix the vehicles after hours, but Stewart said the mechanics would buy them ahead of time and take back the parts that weren’t needed.

Councilors eventually decided to table the agenda item until they received more information.