The Orange County (Fla.) Property Appraiser’s office (OCPA) has switched from mileage reimbursements to county-owned vehicles, acquiring 30 new Toyota Prius vehicles for staff members. Appraiser Rick Singh unveiled the vehicles on April 22.
The vehicles will be used by staff members as they travel throughout the county to appraise property, according to a release. Previously, employees used their personal vehicles and submitted for reimbursement for mileage driven in their personal vehicles.
"Transitioning to an agency-owned fleet advances our sustainability efforts and reduces the wear and tear on our employees' personal vehicles," said Rick Singh, Orange County property appraiser.
The new fleet is more environmentally friendly and cost effective than the reimbursement method. Each new Prius will offer significantly better fuel economy and lower emissions than many employees’ personal vehicles. In addition, over the next 10 years, the office expects to save taxpayers nearly $779,000 by moving to the hybrid fleet.
Since the 2004-2005 budget year until 2013-2014, the OCPA spent $1.86 million on transportation-related costs for appraisal staff. Beginning this year and looking ahead 10 years, the cost estimate falls to $1.08 million.
The fleet will also provide customers with security, as they will know that the marked vehicle at their door is actually from appraiser’s office.
Orange County and the municipalities in the county where field appraisers live worked with OCPA to establish parking spaces at night and on weekends where the vehicles can be safely parked.
Enterprise Fleet Management will provide vehicle registration and a fuel card program that automatically monitors fuel purchases and miles for each vehicle. The OCPA will also use Enterprise Telematics, a web-based application that helps manage fleet operations with real-time diagnostic and location data to optimize fleet use, routing, logistics, engine diagnostics and safety. Enterprise will also handle remarketing.