The Coffee County Sheriff’s Department could soon be leasing their patrol vehicles.
During the recent Coffee County Budget and Finance committee meeting, Coffee County Sheriff Chad Partin brought in a proposal for the sheriff’s department to lease its patrol vehicles through Enterprise Fleet Management.
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.
Enterprise Fleet Management representative Kim Carper gave a presentation to the committee and broke down leasing program and what it would save the county. Deputy Frank Watkins told the committee that the fleet program will go towards the patrol division only due to those vehicles getting higher mileage and experiencing more wear and tear.
“This is just for the patrol division, the ones that are out there in the streets everyday getting high mileage,” Watkins said.
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.
“We’re able to bring several strategies and resources to the table to really help you all streamline your budgets as it pertains with your vehicles,” Carper said.
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 its sold, which will chip into operation expenses like fuel and maintenance.
“If we replace this vehicle on a more consistent schedule at its best time for replacement, we are getting more value for it and we’re spending less when it comes to maintenance, fuel and things of that nature,” Carper said.
SUV upgrade wanted
According to the spreadsheet given to committee members, the current budget for 22 vehicles is $345,000 in total, which covers annual purchases maintenance costs, fuel costs and so on. In the proposed budget, 13 vehicles will be recommended to be replaced with vehicles like Tahoes and Expeditions, which would save the department $138,000 in year one in comparison of continuing to use the sedans.
“Being able to save with a larger vehicle is more than what we anticipated, so it’s a pretty good win overall when we looked at this,” Carper said.
The proposed budget 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 vs 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.
When asked for questions and concerns, Commissioner David Orrick asked did they consider offsetting the fuel cost of the Tahoes since it is more expensive than Sedans. Carper said it was taken into consideration and the fuel number in the spreadsheet is based off the anticipated miles per gallon when they switch vehicles. She said fuel miles per gallon degrades over time and over time it will offset and they will get better mile per gallon from a new Tahoe than a sedan.
Another question asked was about how the maintenance will be handled, as well as what are the differences between the county and Enterprise handling the maintenance.
Carper said maintenance of the vehicles will be operated like it is currently, but the cost will go down because they will be using newer vehicles that are in the preventative maintenance world. She added the county would still utilize the local shops to perform the maintenance on the vehicles while they will help handling the process and helping the get savings.
“We make sure the right work is being done at the right price with right labor hours being charged,” Carper said.
Carper added that they order vehicles straight from the manufacturer on the county’s behalf and apply heavy government discounts.
When asked if there was a downside from the county’s perspective, Carper said it was a different way of looking at things.
“I know that sometimes that’s tough to go to something new when you’re used to doing something a certain way for a long period of time,” Carper said. “We try to make that as easy as possible, in terms transition, and we have a lot of folks that have come on board and done this so it’s proven its effectiveness.”
Partin said he reached out to Rutherford County about their experience with Enterprise and was told they were happy with their agreement. He added Enterprise’s marketplace sparked his interest to present to the committee.
“Having the right vehicle to go to the right market and getting that equity back into the program, that was the selling point to me,” Partin said.
The committee members thanked them for the presentation and told them the committee will be going over the proposal in the next few meetings and will contact them for questions.