Operations

Fleet Budgets Squeezed by Decreasing Tax Revenues

As the 2008 holiday season began last November, Government Fleet contacted public sector fleet managers to explore the impact of plummeting economic conditions on their professional responsibilities.

January 2009, Government Fleet - Feature

by Cindy Brauer - Also by this author

The U.S. economic woes have hit business and industry hard. For government agencies, these turbulent financial times mean significantly decreasing tax revenues and often drastically shrinking budgets. As the 2008 holiday season began last November, Government Fleet contacted public sector fleet managers to explore the impact of plummeting economic conditions on their professional responsibilities.

Lower Fuel Prices Bring Lee County, Fla., Little Relief

Marilyn Rawlings, fleet manager for Lee County, Fla., noted her fleet operations "haven't seen any relief in other areas yet as a result of the lowered fuel prices. That will take some time."

The reduced value of real estate in Lee County has diminished tax revenues and building inspections are down, said Rawlings. "That means budget cuts and reduction of services. So the County has had to lay off people and the fear of further reductions causes a trickle- down effect in fleet."

Employees are stressed, said Rawlings, "because they can't pay their bills or are 'upside down' in their homes." The fleet department's annual holiday donation drive was curtailed because employees couldn't contribute as they had in previous years. A food drive was held; however, contributions were given to a few fleet families in need instead of the local food pantry, Rawlings reported, noting, "The delicateness of doing that while maintaining people's dignity is tough."

Personally, Rawlings admitted, "I am still very grateful for my job. The economic crunch has made me look outward more (seeing the needs of others) and inward to the extent that I am much more appreciative of what I have." 

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