County should take closer look at kinds of vehicles they are buying

Tue, 09/09/2008 - 2:36pm
By: Letters to the ...

Fayette County commissioners, I am writing to express my concern about the vehicle replacement committee estimated costs report dated Aug. 7, 2008. You tabled the vote on this large expenditure at your last meeting.

There are a total of 19 vehicles recommended for replacement for a total cost of $280,110. That does not include the $400,000 recommended to budget for two ambulances nor the $42,000 budgeted for two marshals’ 4x4 full-size trucks and $190,000 budgeted for two large trucks for the road department.

That’s a total of over $912,000 you must OK for the purchase of new vehicles. A considerable sum of money in this slow economy when less revenues are coming into the county coffers. I have gone over this report and have some concerns and questions.

The first vehicle is a Ford Ranger with less than 97,000 miles on it because it has lost power. I know folks who have over 300,000 miles on these type small trucks and are still driving them. Even if the engine can’t be fixed I think engine replacement would be cheaper than replacing this small truck with a F250 for $19,500 as recommended in this report. In addition to the much larger cost, this truck would use much more gas, and as we all know, fuel costs have gone up considerably.

At the last commission meeting I voiced my feelings about the purchase of new vehicles. That is, matching the vehicle for the job it is to perform and take into consideration fuel costs to run our large fleet of county vehicles in the future as replacement vehicles are bought for the county.

I have noticed many county vehicles, mostly full-size trucks occupied only by the driver. It seems to me that if these vehicles are mostly used by one person they don’t have to be full size with large V-8 engines.

Another item that stands out is the replacement of a constable’s Ford Taurus with a Ford Crown Victoria at a cost of $24,573. In addition to the added cost of purchasing a full-size vehicle for what appears to be used by only one person (a Ford Ranger costs about $12,000), the additional fuel costs for running this vehicle would add to the cost of running the county fleet of vehicles.

I also noticed that we are purchasing Fords, Dodges, and Chevrolets. Can we not get a better deal by putting out to bid ALL vehicles from one manufacturer?

I am sure this type of purchase method would bring great savings especially in this slow market when all manufacturers are slowing, or shutting down assembly lines. That is the way private industry does business when making large purchases.

At any rate, there is an old saying that goes, “If you watch your pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.” Now each and every purchase savings may appear to be small, but collectively they add up to large savings for the county taxpayers.

I admit that I don’t know how this vehicle replacement process works, but would like to find out. Perhaps I am overlooking something.

Like many taxpayers in this county, I am on a fixed income and am concerned with growing costs to city, county and state governments when revenues are falling.

Unlike private industry that cuts costs, salaries, benefits and lays off employees if necessary when times get tough, it appears government solves the shortfall by raising taxes of the same folks that have had their incomes reduced (or worse) in their private industry jobs thus experiencing a double whammy on their standard of living.

Before closing, I would like to express another concern. I have seen county vehicles running with no one in them, thus contributing to our already high air pollution problems and burning fuel that has increased in price two-fold in the last several years. Is there a directive advising our employees to turn off engines when vehicles are not occupied? If so, it is not being followed. If not, there should be one put out.

Vic Remeneski

Fayetteville, Ga.

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Submitted by Vernon on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:09pm.

The "INTERM" adminstrator has a car, the "INTERM" director of public safety has a SUV that is only a year or two old and is replacing it with a new vehicle. Most department heads get new vehicles every couple years, needed or not. There are employees living outside the county with drive home vehicles because they may have to report for work at non-buisness hours. These people could park their cars in the county and drive to that location from home and then get the county vehicle. This would save wear & tear on the vehicles, thus making them last longer and save gas. There is waste in vehicle purchase & use all thru the county. A close look of all vehicle use & purchases needs to be conducted, by someone other than the heads of departments or their next in charge.

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