Riverside County Supervisors to Pay Vehicle Expenses

May 07, 2009

RIVERSIDE, CA – Two Riverside County supervisors whose work vehicles each cost more than $50,000 said they will help offset the cars' price tags by paying for gasoline, maintenance, and other expenses, according to The Press-Enterprise.

A few weeks ago, County Supervisors John Tavaglione and Marion Ashley announced they planned to relinquish their cars and take a $550 monthly vehicle stipend and mileage reimbursement from the County, but changed their minds about returning the cars to the County or buying them back after consulting with staff. Other supervisors also told the two turning in the cars could cost taxpayers more money.

Tavaglione will keep his county car, a 2008 GMC Yukon Hybrid, but will pay all gas and maintenance costs associated with it, said his chief of staff, John Field. Generally, the County provides and pays for gas and maintenance for supervisors' work vehicles.

Ashley wrote a check from his campaign funds for $10,000 to help pay down the cost of his 2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, his chief of staff, Robin Hastings, said. Ashley will also pay 20 percent of gas costs, something he has done for a while, but has not documented until now, Hastings said.

The County is struggling with how to cut costs and plug a $130 million revenue shortfall for next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

Supervisors favor budget proposals from County Executive Officer Bill Luna that would limit county car purchases and take-home use.

Luna's office recommended setting cost guidelines for elected officials. Sedans would range from $30,000 to $40,000 and SUVs from $40,000 to $50,000, the executive office wrote in a report to supervisors.

The executive office has also suggested an increase in the $550 monthly allowance the county offers officials in lieu of a county car. That could encourage more employees to take the stipend rather than having the County pay larger up-front costs to purchase cars for them, the office wrote. Any change to the allowance would be part of upcoming budget discussions, officials have said.

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