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A sign of the times in Colorado

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The only two police forces in the United States to drive Saab 9-5s – Aspen and Vail – may have to make do with less racy transportation.

The police forces in the two Colorado towns are facing budget cutbacks, according to Ski Area Management magazine, and the Swedish carmaker is cutting its subsidized offering to the two towns to just seven cars each, down from 13. Vail cops are now driving around in Ford Explorers, which will save the town $6,000 per vehicle over five years.

Both Vail and Aspen are struggling to keep their budgets balanced. A resort sales tax provides a substantial portion of each town’s municipal revenue. Sales tax receipts in Vail have been flat and in Aspen they’ve been falling for the last several years.

Fewer destination visitors and lower spending by visitors generally are at the heart of the problem.

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