Montezuma County is reorganizing how it manages its fleet of vehicles.
The county currently has 119 light vehicles and 175 heavy-duty trucks and equipment, and the hope is to trim that amount.
A newly formed fleet department will evaluate department vehicle needs, conduct maintenance and repairs that are tracked, purchase and dispose of light fleet vehicles, provide assistance to other departments for purchase and disposal of heavy fleet vehicles, and maintain a motor pool system for county employees.
“The way we were doing it was costing too much,” said commissioner James Lambert. “I think we will be able to better evaluate service needs and reduce the number of vehicles in the fleet right now.”
A fleet manager, secretary, and two mechanics staff the department using funds from the road department. The Armory building in the road department yard was remodeled with a new garage door and lifts were added.
A motor-pool for county employees is also part of the new system. When available, county employees must now use county vehicles for business rather than using personal cars and charging mileage.
“It’s better to have them under our insurance when on county business,” said county manager Melissa Brunner.
Fleet manager Clint Watson explained some advantages for the streamlined system.
Preventative maintenance will save money for their future replacement. Fuel and repair costs will be reduced by purchasing appropriate vehicles for departments. The system will provide services for vehicles in the field, reduce down time, and be able to reduce the number of vehicles not utilized.
Labor costs for the county fleet department are figured at $70 per hour. The average labor rate in the community ranges from $80 to $100 per hour, Watson said. Under the Government Services Program, the county can buy parts and tires at 5 percent handling fees whereas many shops mark up parts 10-15 percent.
Guidelines for replacement for non sheriff, light fleet vehicles is 12 years/150,000 miles. Sheriff patrol vehicles would be replaced every 6 years/100,000 miles.
“Up front there are some costs, but in three years we will start to see the savings,” Lambert said.