LANCASTER, PA - a fleet of Chevrolet Cobalts replaces aging vehicles for the City of Lancaster and moves housing inspectors out of their personal vehicles, according to

The City spent $306,000 purchasing 22 new Chevrolet Cobalts in a long-planned move to put housing inspectors into city vehicles and to replace old, high-maintenance cars.

By piggy-backing on a state purchasing contract, the City got the cars for $13,921 each, saving $2,409 from the listed price, said Patrick Hopkins, the city's administrative services department director.

Half of the Chevrolet Cobalts will be assigned to city inspectors, who had been driving their personal vehicles.

Recommended by a fleet consultant, the switch is intended as both a cost-cutting move and an image enhancement for the inspectors, said Hopkins.

The new vehicles are expected to pay for themselves over the 15-year life of the vehicles and the mileage paid to inspectors to use their private vehicles, said Mayor Rick Gray.

The City budgeted nearly $13,500 for mileage the eight inspectors last year. Only $500 is budgeted for gas for their new vehicles this year, said Randy Patterson, director of the economic development and neighborhood revitalization department that oversees the inspectors.

The four-door white sedans are four-cylinder models expected to get 30 miles to the gallon of gasoline.

The cars will be paid off within seven years.

That lifespan is significantly longer than for city police cars, which need to be replaced about every five years," according to Hopkins.

The remaining 11 vehicles purchased will replace older cars, such as a late 1980s car used by the city zoning officer. The city's maintenance records showed how much it costed to repair its vehicles. Those records were used to decide which vehicles to replace, said Hopkins.