RICHMOND, VA – The City of Richmond has completed a purge of its fleet of vehicles and heavy equipment as part of a strategy for saving money on maintenance and fuel, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper. So far, the city has cut 500 vehicles from its fleet of about 2,700, or almost 19 percent. Ultimately, Mayor L. Douglas Wilder wants to reduce the fleet size by 25 percent.

According to Harry Black, the city’s chief financial officer, the initiative will yield significant savings in maintenance and fuel costs, as well as generate a one-time windfall from the auction of the vehicles retired by the city. Ultimately, the city expects to rely on a new master leasing program as a way to procure vehicles that aren’t as old or in need of maintenance as those cut from the fleet this week.

The cuts were based on an analysis by the Department of Public Works, which looked at the age of vehicles and other equipment, operating costs, mileage and use. There was an exemption for vehicles that departments could prove to be essential, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. After reducing the size of the fleet, the city wants to take a different approach to procuring vehicles in the future. Instead of buying vehicles outright and keeping them indefinitely, members of the administration and council think leasing could save money and reduce maintenance.

The city’s internal auditor has been studying the fleet management system and will issue a report this year.