ROXBORO, NC – Person County government can’t justify forming a full-fledged department to centralize maintenance of county-owned vehicles, but county officials think monetary savings can be realized by instituting a new program to manage the county’s rolling stock, according to the Roxboro Courier-Times. In order to find out, county commissioners have indicated they plan to provide for such a program this spring when they craft the county budget for 2007-08.

Commissioners reached that consensus last month after hearing the results of an in-house study of county government’s vehicle maintenance. The study, which was conducted by Assistant County Manager Paul Bailey and Public Works Director David Rogers, also explored the feasibility of the county’s establishing a new department through which vehicle upkeep would be centralized.

In a written summary of their findings, Bailey and Rogers advised the board that county government now insures 147 motor vehicles that are assigned to 18 departments. More than one-fourth (39) of the vehicles are 10 years old or older. The department with the most vehicles is the Sheriff’s Department, with 46, followed by the Health Department with 22, and Person Area Transportation Services with 16. Currently, each department is responsible for the maintenance of its own vehicles.

Vehicle maintenance costs to the county for the past two fiscal years (2004-05 and 2005-06) totaled $315,390, or an average of $157,700 a year, the study determined. As the department with the most vehicles, the Sheriff’s Department typically leads all others in vehicle maintenance costs. During the past two fiscal years examined by the study, the county spent almost $119,000 maintaining sheriff’s vehicles.

The findings concluded that a centralized fleet management program would save Person County money and provide better service for users of the county vehicles. The county estimates such a program would require at least one new position, and Bailey and Rogers recommended several main functions of such a program, including buying vehicles and coordinating inventories; selling surplus vehicles; inspect vehicles; analyzing vehicle problems, making repairs, and contracting services; providing spare vehicles; and scheduling repairs and maintenance.

County commissioners will determine how much to budget toward implementing the fleet management program.