Audit: Va. City Behind on Replacements

February 21, 2017

Graph from City of Virginia Beach Audit of the Department of Public Works - Fleet Management’s Procurement Procedures
Graph from City of Virginia Beach Audit of the Department of Public Works - Fleet Management’s Procurement Procedures

An audit of the City of Virginia Beach, Va., fleet found that the city is behind on vehicle replacements, and that lack of separate funding for totaled vehicles makes it even more difficult for Fleet Management to replace aging equipment.

The city audit found that Fleet Management had been consistently unable to purchase all the vehicles due for replacement. For FY-2017, 548 vehicles meet the parameters for replacement at an estimated cost of $21.7 million. The fleet replacement budget decreased slightly in FY-2014 and has remained steady at approximately $5.1 million since that year. For FY-17, this pays for the replacement of just 162 vehicles.

Rising vehicle costs, in conjunction with costs for totaled vehicles due to accidents and weather events, makes it more difficult to replace aging vehicles. The city does not account for anticipated costs of totaled vehicles, and these are replaced with the vehicle replacement budget. Within the past four fiscal years, 57 vehicles were totaled — the majority of which were police vehicles. The estimated replacement cost of these totaled vehicles (except for ambulances) is $4.3 million.

“This has a significant impact on the ability to replace aging vehicles given the budget constraints of the past several fiscal years,” the auditor wrote.

Additionally, during the last three fiscal years, there were 1,116 repairs due to accidents for which the city was at fault, costing nearly $2 million. Of these, 66 repairs totaling $62,000 were caused by neglect or abuse of vehicles by city employees.

The auditor also studied the fleet's purchasing methods and found that Fleet Management complied with vehicle purchasing policies, and user departments were satisfied with the procurement process.

The auditor recommended creating a centralized motor pool for the city’s low-use vehicles. The mileage parameter is 3,000 miles or less per year, and the audit stated that 42 of these are light-duty units adaptable to being shared.

Reginald Padgett, fleet management administrator, wrote that he concurred with the report and will look into creating a centralized motor pool for low-use vehicles.

The city fleet consists of about 3,600 units including police vehicles; fire and rescue vehicles; light-, medium-, and heavy-duty equipment; and construction equipment. It employs 77 full-time employees.

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