How City Fleets Handle Tool Allowances

November 2008, Government Fleet - Feature

by Steve Bennett

Is your tool allowance competitive? In a recent survey, several government fleets around the country revealed tool allowances range, but the funds are distributed in a variety of ways. Some government fleets provide employees a directly paid allowance.

Scott Simonton, fleet services supervisor for the City of Walsonville, Ore., said the City’s flat $53 per month tool allowance was negotiated with the union. The allowance is now 2 percent of a mechanic’s annual salary. The City’s fleet numbers some 250 units, including vehicles and equipment, maintained by three senior mechanics and an entry-level mechanic.

In Salem, Ore., the City’s 18 mechanics supply their own everyday tools. "We pay for replacements, repairs, and damaged tools," said Floyd Noel, equipment shop supervisor. The fleet numbers 1,475 vehicles and pieces of equipment, Noel said.

Fleets Provide Tools or Stipends

A $10,000 budget line item allows the City of Salina, Kan., to provide all tools for the four mechanics in its nonunion shop, said Robert Peck, fleet superintendent. That allotment covers larger tools and diagnostic equipment as well, he said. The fleet operates 700 units of equipment, including 300 vehicles.

The four mechanics for the City of Lancaster, Calif., provide all tools required for work through an annual tool budget of $2,800. "We buy all the tools. They are city inventory," said Steven Anderson, transportation manager. The fleet totals 300 pieces, Anderson said.

Robert Barker, fleet maintenance supervisor for the City of Franklin, Tenn., where the fleet numbers more than 600 vehicles and pieces of equipment, said each year the five full-time mechanics in the nonunion shop each receive a $600 debit card. "We furnish money for special tools," he said.

Alan Brown, fleet manager for the City of Littleton, Colo., said, "Every so often somebody in the region, including myself, conducts an informal survey to see who’s paying what. We try to be somewhere toward the top end of that range. Currently it’s at $700 per year per mechanic, available to them at the beginning of the fiscal year." Littleton’s fleet numbers 300 vehicles, maintained by four technicians.

"It’s designed to replace broken or worn-out tools, and sometimes they need to upgrade things," Brown said. "When it comes to expendables — drill bits, abrasives, saw blades — the shop buys all of that."


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 10000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Public Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Amin Amini from Verizon Connect will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Recent Topics

We are in the middle of standardizing PM process with all of our technicians. And I'm asking if anyone has a standard pm checklist for...

View Topic

I have 2 questions: 1. When obtaining quotes for vehicles, what do you require from the dealership? (ie. signature, date, is an invoice...

View Topic

Fleet Documents

1134 Fleet Documents (and counting) to Download!

Sponsored by

A vehicle that emits no pollutants, through a tailpipe, from an onboard source of power.

Read more



Thi Dao
When Are Policies Too Strict?

By Thi Dao
Before writing a policy that will last for years, determine whether it’s the best one. Would a typical employee follow the policy?

What Your Vehicles Say About Your Fleet

By Thi Dao

Managing a Police Fleet

How Chevrolet's Tahoe PPV Differs From its Retail Relative

By Michaela Kwoka-Coleman
For the Chevrolet Tahoe PPV, tires are added to the vehicles that are capable of handling speeds of up to 134 mph and the brakes are adjusted to handle frequent stopping at high speeds.

Police Vehicles Pushed to the Limit in California

By Paul Clinton

Next-Gen Fleet

Facundo Tassara
Vehicle-to-What? — Evolving Vehicle Communication Technologies

By Facundo Tassara
Can vehicle collisions be avoided with vehicle-to-infrastructure or vehicle-to-vehicle technology? Several of the major OEMs think so and are spending billions of dollars a year working on the technology.

Streets of the Future Could Take Automatic Tire Readings

By Facundo Tassara

Driving Notes

Paul Clinton
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

By Paul Clinton
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a significantly upgraded van that offers a dizzying array of configurations and meaningful improvements designed to improve productivity for delivering packages or hauling passengers.

2018 Ford EcoSport

By Mike Antich

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Sherb Brown
Remembering Sundays in St. Louis, Detroit, and Atlantic City

By Sherb Brown
There is just no better opportunity to network, to learn, and to mingle with the best and the brightest than an in-person fleet event.

Adapting to a Changing Tide

By Sherb Brown