The City of Jackson is considering entering into a contract with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to allow the company to manage the city’s fleet of vehicles, a move that city officials say will save thousands of dollars annually.
In a presentation to the Budget and Audit Committee Thursday morning, theThe City Budget Committee met Thursday to discuss a possible contract with Enterprise to manage the city's fleet, a move that could save thousands. company proposed slowly cycling out the 462 vehicles the city currently owns and manages, and cycling in new vehicles that will be managed in partnership with the company.
The change over will allow the city to “get the most out of the vehicles, but still sell the vehicles while they are worth some resale value,” according to Mary Elizabeth Roe, a representative of Enterprise.
“We want to make sure those are being operated as efficiently as possible,” she said.
The city currently owns 81 vehicles that are over 20 years old, and only 91 out of the 462 are less than five years old.
These vehicles are on an average 18-year replacement cycle, which Roe says is “not sustainable.”
“City budgets are always strapped, and what always gets kicked down the road as far as you can get it are often vehicles,” she said. “If you continue to buy like this, the city will just never catch up. How you’re doing it today will not sustain you for the next 10 years.”
According to Roe’s preliminary calculations, the city will save a little over $350,000 in the first year alone when working with Enterprise fleet management.
The plan will also see the police department switch 140 Dodge Chargers to Ford Interceptors, a move that will cut down on maintenance costs.
“Long story short, there’s a lot of opportunity here,” Roe said. “It’s a great opportunity for the city to move to, from the tax-payers standpoint, safer, more reliable vehicles which will cost less money out the door.”
Enterprise currently manages numerous fleets around the state, including counties like Hamilton and Rutherford County, cities such as Chattanooga, Crossville and Livingston, and even the Memphis-Shelby County Schools system, among others.
Councilmember and head of the Budget Committee Paul Taylor agreed with the sentiments expressed in the presentation, but emphasizes that no deal has been made yet—the city is simply exploring its options.
“We looked at an interesting proposal today from Enterprise fleet management to manage the city’s whole entire fleet,” he said. “And so that could net us some savings from vehicle maintenance and fuel costs, and let us off-load some of our aged and dangerous vehicles on the road.”
Taylor pointed out that the current system of fleet management was an inevitable issue that would need to be dealt with, considering the rate of “wear and tear” the city puts the vehicles through.
“If we went out at the pace we’re going now, it would take us 18 years to replace our fleet,” he said. “That’s just not sustainable with the amount of wear and tear we put on our vehicles. At that point, that vehicle or truck is in the same condition as the one we have now. So we’re looking at creative ways to fix that.”
Taylor also mentioned that such a management system would greatly benefit the law enforcement and first responders of Jackson—hopefully boosting recruitment and retention for the departments, an issue that has been plaguing them for years.
“We discussed how we could fold in some retention and recruiting opportunities that we’ve looked at into that program,” he said. “As well as start to shift around some capital budget that we already have laid out for the vehicles and shift them into that proposal to lower that capital need.”
Whether Enterprise is the right choice for Jackson is yet to be decided, but Taylor promises that a decision will be made.
“The replacement cycle we’re on is unfattenable, so we’re having to look at other way to get quality vehicles and equipment on the road,” he said. “This could net us some more cash for use in other things, and get us new vehicles on the road. It can reduce our fuel consumption and reduce our maintenance costs, both of which are very significant.
“We’ve got to look at how we start replacing those, and how do we do that in a sustainable way.”
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This article originally appeared on Jackson Sun: City of Jackson considers contract with Enterprise fleet management, could save thousands