Government Fleet Top News

Carmel Has No Plans to Park its Fleet of 159 Take-Home Vehicles

November 21, 2007

CARMEL, IN – The City of Carmel, Ind., will continue to allow 159 city vehicles to be taken home after hours, according to the Indianapolis Star.

City officials said Carmel’s sound finances allow for the continued practice, aimed mostly at improving public safety and making on-call employees work more efficiently.

The city has 313 vehicles in its fleet, which used about $577,000 in fuel in 2006. In 2007, the fuel costs were listed at about $589,000. Separate fuel costs for take-home vehicles were not available.

Of the 159 cars that are take-home, 104 belong to public safety officials, including 93 police and 11 fire vehicles. The remaining 55 belong to on-call employees such as the city’s Communications Center director, who drives a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe. Other employees, such as the engineering department’s construction manager, who drives a 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer, could be called out after hours.

In most cases, employees, regardless of where they live, are allowed to drive vehicles to and from work. The city covers gas for the commute and other trips related to city business. There’s no city ordinance that regulates use of take-home vehicles. A city vehicle policy spells out the guidelines.

In all departments except public safety, personal use of the vehicles is banned with certain exceptions, such as dropping a child off at school on the way to work. Mileage is to be tracked and turned in each month. Employees on vacation for more than three days must leave their vehicles on city premises.

Department heads are responsible for enforcing the policies.

While there are no immediate policy change in store, city officials said they’re making efforts to cut back on fuel expenses, according to the Indianapolis Star.

As part of a 2005 executive order, unless the city requires a vehicle not available in that model, all new vehicles purchased by the city must be either hybrid or take alternative fuel, such as E-85. To date, Carmel has 20 take-home vehicles that fit that description.

This year, the Department of Community Services will replace its four 2001 Jeep Cherokees with 2008 Ford Escape Hybrids, improving the average gas mileage from 10 miles a gallon to 25.

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