BALTIMORE – As a job perk, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon is allowed access to a full-time executive protection unit manned by the police department and three city-owned vehicles set aside for Dixon's use and two drivers — both retired police officers — each paid $60,000 per year, according to a WBALTV investigation.
Dixon uses one vehicle, a Chevy Suburban, most of the time for both city and personal business, but Dixon also has use of a 2004 Crown Victoria from when she was City Council president, reported WBAL.
A third city-owned vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, spends most of its time sitting in the mayor's driveway for emergencies, according to WBAL.
In response to a formal request, the mayor's office provided a breakdown of the costs of the vehicles, listing maintenance and repair costs, fuel, and insurance.
Through April of this fiscal year, the Chevy Suburban has cost taxpayers:
- $1,537 in maintenance and repair.
- $461 in insurance.
- $7,301 in fuel costs.
The 2004 Crown Victoria has cost:
- $1,484 in maintenance and repair.
- $575 in insurance.
- $793 in fuel.
The Jeep has cost:
- $1,219 in maintenance and repair.
- $350 in insurance.
- $83 in fuel.
City taxpayers have spent $13,803 to keep the mayor's three cars running so far this fiscal year.
Two months ago, the mayor reportedly stood firm on the number of taxpayer-owned cars she has at her beck and call, saying she needed all of them. Since then, some City Council members have taken on the use of the city-owned vehicles in an attempt to save money, WBAL reported.
In a related matter, the city's 25 take-home vehicles are under review, most of which are in the police department, according to WBAL. In several cases, they're assigned to employees commuting from their homes in other states, such as Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
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