ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources recently paid off the last of their fleet loans by making a final payment of nearly $600,000 on what had been $11 million of debt. For several years, the department had financed equipment replacements and improvements by borrowing funds. While the loan approach enabled the department to accelerate efforts to improve equipment reliability and safety, the annual loan interest expense of nearly $500,000 was a burden.

The department formulated a plan to reduce costs by improving lifecycle management and utilization, as well as establishing equipment standards and reducing accidents and insurance costs. The proceeds from those savings were then utilized to buy down the loans, eventually succeeding in paying off all loans. The savings — $1,300 per day — will help defray recent high fuel costs.