Patrol car

The Coffee County Sheriff’s Department’s patrol vehicles will now be on lease.

During the Nov. 9 full Coffee County Commission meeting, the commission unanimously passed an agreement to Enterprise Fleet to lease vehicles for the Coffee County Sherriff’s Department. Coffee County Mayor Gary Cordell told the commission the committee had thoroughly reviewed the agreement that was presented to them.

Back in September, Coffee County Sheriff Chad Partin and Deputy Frank Watkins brought in a proposal to the Budget and Finance committee for the sheriff’s department to lease its patrol vehicles through Enterprise Fleet Management. Enterprise Fleet Management representative Kim Carper came before the committee and gave a presentation to break down the leasing program and what it would save the county.

Enterprise Fleet Management is a privately-held, full-service fleet management business for companies, government agencies and organizations operating medium-sized fleets of 20 or more vehicles, as well as those seeking an alternative to employee reimbursement programs.

Carper told the committee that she and Watkins have been working on the proposal for about two years by gathering data and finding a solution that will benefit the county. She added by using data and analytics, Enterprise will help decide when it is best to replace a vehicle to operate at low costs while maximizing the return on the vehicle when it is sold, which will chip into operation expenses like fuel and maintenance.

The budget before the proposal was presented was $345,000 for 22 vehicles, which covered annual purchases maintenance costs, fuel costs and so on. In the proposed budget with Enterprise Fleet, 13 vehicles will be recommended to be replaced, with vehicles like Chevrolet Tahoes and Ford Expeditions, which would save the department $138,000 in year one in comparison of continuing to use sedans. It also showed that they would anticipate to receive $63,500 in equity, and the maintenance and fuel costs will go down for the 13 vehicles. The total fleet budget would be about $205,000, $38,000 in savings in year one versus what is currently being spent. Carper added in over 10 years they were anticipating savings of over $350,000; however, in later years the budget will dip into the negatives since moving into larger vehicles like Tahoes are more expensive.

Before the vote took place, Accounts and Budgets Director Marianna Edinger informed the commission that since interest rates on leases are considered debt they had to figure the interest rate. Based on the three-year treasury rate plus 350 basis points, as of the meeting, the interest rate for the agreement is 4.29%, and the rate is locked in once the vehicle is delivered and it is the length of the term.

After discussion, the commission unanimously passed the agreement 19-0.