Government Fleet Top News

Kentucky Municipality Considers Scaling Back Number of Take-Home Vehicles

August 30, 2005

JEFFERSONVILLE, KY – The city of Jeffersonville provides 77 take-home vehicles to employees – including some in the parks, engineering and street departments, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.However, some members of the City Council believe that Jeffersonville is picking up the tab for too many cars and trucks. And Mayor Rob Waiz said that he plans to review the city's entire fleet of vehicles in coming weeks."With the high gas prices, it's time to at least look into that," Waiz told the Louisville Courier-Journal, of the city's take-home policy.Most of the vehicles – 52 of them – are furnished to police officers, and having them in the community on nights and weekends is viewed as a deterrent to crime.But employees who aren't involved in public safety also are able to drive to and from work at taxpayer expense.City Councilman John Perkins said he recently looked into the matter and found one employee who was making a roughly 80-mile roundtrip between Jeffersonville and Palmyra each day. Many others live in the New Washington and Charlestown areas, he said, and drive perhaps 40 miles daily."It's a serious issue, and it needs serious consideration," Perkins said, adding that he believes there are "more than a few" employees who don't need city vehicles.The council already faces a proposed $50,000 increase in fuel costs next year, and city officials believe modest changes to the take-home guidelines could yield at least that much in savings.One option under consideration is to provide certain employees with vehicles after they arrive at work.Clarksville Town Council President John Minta said he shares a late-model Ford Caprice with the town's engineer, planner, and redevelopment director.The town also provides cars to its police officers, he said, and to a few other employees.In New Albany, director of operations Tony Toran said he doesn't know how many employees have take-home vehicles. Mayor James Garner drives a Dodge Durango, and Toran said he uses a Chevy Trailblazer."I'm on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Toran said, explaining his need for the Trailblazer. "It's nothing for me to be called out at 2 or 3 in the morning" to respond to a problem.Some Jeffersonville officials defended the use of take-home vehicles. City Engineer Bob Miller said he has received about two dozen calls this year – involving such things as spilled paint or traffic-signal problems – that require him to respond during non-business hours.His 1997 extended-cab Dodge pickup is among the oldest in the city's fleet, he said, and he doesn't drive it on weekends.In addition to police officers, take-home vehicles are provided to the following departments: fire (5); streets and sanitation (5); building commissioner (4); engineer (3); parks (2); and one vehicle each to planning and zoning, drainage, redevelopment, vehicle maintenance, the animal shelter, and the mayor, reported the Louisville Courier-Journal.

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