RESTON, VA – According to the county's quarterly audit report, eight of the 16 county agencies that use take-home vehicles are planning to reduce usage due to overall budget cuts, saving the county about $700,000, reported the Fairfax County Times. The savings are not solely from the vehicle expenses, but also in overtime pay.
In fiscal 2009, which ends this month, about 522 county vehicles were going home with staff members on a daily basis, most of them in the police department. There will be 30 fewer take-home vehicles in the coming budget year. Police say that taking a vehicle home allows police personnel with special skills, for example, to be on call or ready to respond at any time. Police K-9 officers and undercover officers also are allowed to take home their vehicles, according to department policy.
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is implementing a policy that its 36 take-home vehicles, used for similar purposes, cannot be taken more than 30 miles outside of the county. Other county agencies allow employees on-call or who may have to perform emergency repairs to take home their work vehicles. Most of the cost savings associated with the changes comes from the Facilities Management Department, which is eliminating after-hours emergency repairs. The department now has about nine employees who respond to emergency calls after hours and take vehicles home with them.
The audit report estimated $500,000 savings is mainly from eliminating the overtime pay associated with these calls, reported the Times.