OCEAN CITY, MD – Recent revisions to Ocean City's take-home vehicle policy were minor, as the City Council agreed to minimal cuts in the number of cars, according to Ocean City Today.
Council members last month argued in favor of major reductions in the fleet, but when the issue came up for discussion, each council member appeared to wait for another to make the first move, according to Ocean City Today.
The council ultimately decided to reduce the fleet by 12 cars, the number currently held by employees living more than 15 miles outside town, for an estimated savings of $59,000, according to Ocean City Today.
In the weeks since City Manager Dennis Dare presented a review of the expenses and uses associated with the City's 71 take-home vehicles in April, Ocean City taxpayers raised concerns about the $300,000 take-home vehicles cost annually. That some cars were used primarily for transportation to and from work sent up a red flag for some council members as well.
However, Dare's recent proposal called for leaving all cars in place now, but through attrition remove those held by employees living more than 15 miles outside the resort. The point of take-home cars, he said, is for employees to respond to emergencies at all hours, but those living farther away could not respond quickly.
According to Dare's figures, 12 of the take-home vehicles are held by employees living outside that range. They also revealed 37 employees with City vehicles were called in fewer than once a month in 2008, and four were never called in.
Despite the council's feedback that this assessment was not good enough, no suggestions were made.
Councilwoman Margaret Pillas called for a carpool to be set up instead, and all the take-home vehicles left in town and only used during the workday.
Councilman Doug Cymek recommended in a motion to eliminate cars held by employees outside the 15-mile range starting July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year. He exempted bomb squad employees and undercover police detectives from the 15-mile requirement, and the police K-9 vehicles are guaranteed under their contract, reported Ocean City Today.
Councilwoman Mary Knight said the City would save approximately $59,000, according to her personal calculations. Dare did not have an official figure, according to Ocean City Today.
More changes will be made to the take-home vehicle policy, said Council President Joe Mitrecic, who has repeatedly declared the policy too lenient and costly to the City. Expected chagnes will include a review of each remaining car and the number of times that employee was called in outside business hours and the times the car was used just for commuting.