Photo courtesy of Montezuma County.

Photo courtesy of Montezuma County.

Montezuma County, Colo., has appointed a new fleet manager and started the process of setting up a fleet management division to improve efficiency while consolidating vehicle and equipment costs.

The move will consolidate fleet management for 13 departments that each managed their vehicles differently. The departments often didn't have enough funding to keep their vehicles on the road.

"Many of the Sheriff's Department vehicles were handed down to some of the smaller departments at times," said Clint Watson, the county's new fleet manager. "The new fleet department will make it possible for the Sheriff’s Department to sell their vehicles and use the proceeds to lower the cost of new vehicles. This will also allow the smaller departments to purchase a vehicle that fits their purpose and budget better."

The department has assembled a five-member team that includes a foreman, office manager, and two technicians.

"This [new department] is put together to help them, so everybody can have help taking care of the vehicles, from the small departments to the larger ones," said Watson. To help maintain their fleet, a building in the road department yard has been remodeled to include a new garage door and lifts.

Some of the goals for the new department include procuring newer vehicles that cost less to operate and deliver better fuel economy; becoming better at maintenance and keeping more detailed records; and lowering costs so the county can afford to do more with their budget.

The county currently has 119 light-duty vehicles and 175 heavy-duty trucks and equipment that it hopes to downsize to reduce maintence costs. The fleet management division will begin with replacing the light-duty vehicles, then move on to the heavy-duty trucks.

"On an annual basis, we’ll be making a 10-15% savings on repairs and upkeep, but that’s just an estimate until we get the actual numbers at the end of 2016," said Watson.

One way they are keeping track of how much is being spent managing their fleet is by creating a new and separate internal service fund for county departments to pay fees into. The fund will be used for vehicle replacements, repairs, maintenance, and other vehicle costs.

The process began when the county's Board of Commissioners signed a resolution approving the new department on Sept. 28.