MUSKOGEE, OK – The City of Muskogee Council approved on Dec. 10 a fleet garage consolidation plan projected to cost $178,900. This follows a fleet consolidation that led to the creation of the Equipment Management Division earlier this year. The City hired Robert Swepston as director of equipment management on Sept. 10. Swepston reports to the city manager.

According to Swepston, the City’s departments each previously managed its own fleets. These fleets included Fire, Police, and Public Works, which was further broken down into separate divisions such as environmental control and water distribution.

“People are afraid of change, but overall, it’s looked on favorably, and we are trying to take small steps and get accustomed to the new idea,” Swepston said of the consolidation.

Swepston told the Muskogee Phoenix that the facility consolidation would result in an improved maintenance schedule, better equipped and trained mechanics, the ability to take advantage of bulk purchases, and increased productivity that could lead to savings of more than $200,000 annually.

The City currently has six maintenance facilities. Every maintenance garage except the Fire Department’s garage will be moved to a new centralized facility at the City’s fairgrounds, reducing the number of garages from six to two.

“Most of our facilities are 35 years or older that we’re working out of. Fire is about 10 years old,” Swepston explained.

He further stated that the separate facilities are not well-equipped, with some that don’t have vehicle lifts.

The new facility will be merged with the existing fairgrounds building, with some changes such as door enlargements, electrical upgrades, and the addition of exhaust fans for ventilation. The facility will have 16 bays.

The City of Muskogee Equipment Management Division has 13 technicians and maintains approximately 400 units ranging from sedans to heavy equipment. It also manages a central fueling facility with gasoline and diesel.

Funds will also be used to purchase upgraded tools and equipment. Swepston is currently looking to purchase a fleet management information system to help with maintenance management.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to bring Muskogee into the current century,” Swepston said.

By Thi Dao