DALLAS - The Dallas City Council was given a Fleet Operations update during its meeting Jan 5. The briefing addressed how Fleet Services operates and included information fleet purchase, utilization, and inventory control. In addition, it listed fleet audit findings.

The briefing included benchmarking statistics from the cities of Phoenix and San Antonio and provided a four-year history of fleet expenditures, showing a higher average total maintenance cost per police vehicle than both cities and in-between maintenance cost per solid waste vehicle.

While fleet size has increased, expenses have decreased since FY09-10. Expenditures for personnel are relatively constant, while outside repair and parts expenses are expected to decrease in the FY11 budget. The briefing states the fleet replacements have been decreasing since FY07-08, which could result in higher maintenance costs in coming years.

Increase in marked squad cars without corresponding increases in staffing (due to a hiring freeze) led to an increase of low priority vehicles missing their preventive maintenance at scheduled intervals. This also resulted in fleet availability goals not being met for both marked squad cars and garbage trucks.

A City Auditor's review was completed and found that vehicles were not being placed in service in a timely manner, an insufficient number of auctions per year, and that the fleet focus database system was underutilized.

The briefing listed actions performed to date to improve fleet operations, as well as upcoming actions with target completion dates. These include working with user departments to determine optimal fleet size and mix, hire a procurement manager, and establishing a standard vehicle utilization criteria. These actions and others are expected to be completed by July 2011.

Fleet Services manages a total of 5,130 units, of which 37 percent are alternative fuel vehicles. Fleet Services handles vehicles and equipment assigned to 24 City departments, operates with a budget of $49.5 million, and employs 230 people.

To view the briefing, click here.

In October 2010, the Dallas City Council was provided a general overview of Fleet Services with suggestions for improvement.