KAWARTHA LAKES, ONTARIO - The way staff accesses the City of Kawartha Lakes' fleet of vehicles could change, according to http://www.mykawartha.com.

Mayor Ric McGee presented proposed changes to the City's current policy regulating vehicle use, during the corporate and human resource services at a current committee meeting. Concerned over the cost of on-call and supervisory staff taking vehicles home - as well as the added wear and tear on the aging fleet - Mayor McGee put forward a number of alternatives. The options were designed to both reduce the number of after-hours vehicle use while, at the same time, provide a system that would address the need for vehicles in the event of an urgent situation.

"I'm confident that this is the right direction," Mayor McGee said during discussion over his proposal. "This is an issue that has been outstanding...and has already been deferred for far, far too long."

Councillors had a number of concerns with Mayor McGee's revised policy, not the least of which was a detailed report regarding the financial and legal impacts. Director of human resources Janice Platt pointed out to committee members the CUPE 855 union contract does include a provision for specific individuals to have access to vehicles for emergency purposes. The changes could potentially violate this condition.

When asked about the financial impact, CEO Jane Lunn explained there are a number of employees who have access to vehicles, including those who are on call. Some of these individuals live considerable distances away from City Hall making it inconvenient and time-consuming for them to travel back to Lindsay to obtain a vehicle in the event of an emergency.

While the City may have to pay travel expenses for these individuals should the changes be put in place, Ms Lunn noted the savings to infrastructure could be greater than mileage costs.

Mayor McGee told fellow committee members that, while the proposed changes "may not be popular" the City needs to "tighten our belts" and do what needs to be done. Although the mayor's proposal received some support at committee, many councilors were concerned with the lack of information relating to the financial and legal impact. Committee passed a motion requesting staff compiles a report to this end.

The report is expected to come before City council at its Nov. 27 meeting.