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Council hears proposal for vehicle fleet management

The Cairo City Council heard a proposal that could potentially save the city an estimated $200,000 over a 10-year period on the purchase and maintenance of city vehicles.
Mike Larkins of Enterprise Fleet Management appeared before the mayor and council during this week’s regular meeting to discuss his proposal. Larkins said he has successfully negotiated management deals for the cities of Bainbridge and St. Marys.
Based on his projections, the city would replace vehicles in its fleet on a five-year cycle. According to Larkins, by selling city vehicles while there is still equity in the vehicle the city can recoup some of its investment.
Currently, over half the city’s fleet is over 10 years old and many of the units have over 100,000 miles on them; three have over 200,000 miles and three have odometers that are inoperable.
Enterprise is best known as a rental car company, but according to Larkins, the fleet management division can put the firm’s buying power to work for the city.
Larkins proposed the city utilize open-end leases for its vehicles that allow the city to replace older units with new vehicles while avoiding large capital outlay.
According to Larkins, “lease” in this case is for accounting purposes and he said there is no limit on mileage or penalties for excessive wear and tear. “After six months you can fire us and you own the assets,” he said.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton said that the city’s philosophy has been to maintain its vehicles well and operate them until the cost of maintenance becomes excessive or a major repair becomes necessary.
Larkins said that under the Enterprise plan the vehicles are cycled out more frequently and the city would benefit from more residual value from the sale of the vehicles.
Larkins said by the city disposing of old vehicles they likely get $1,000 or less. “By selling them at the right time you capture the equity and can sell them for significantly more,” he contended.
Enterprise also offers a maintenance plan, which Larkins said over the life of the plan is cheaper for the city. He said that the vehicles can be worked on at “any facility, anywhere.”
“This allows you to actually budget your maintenance expense and there are never any surprises,” Larkins said.
The Enterprise official said the city could continue to operate its own shop and only enroll certain vehicles, such as police vehicles, in the Enterprise maintenance plan.
Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas said that if the city council was interested in pursuing a fleet management concept then it should solicit proposals from any interested vendor rather than simply accept the proposal offered by Enterprise.
The council took no action and did not give the city manager any instructions on pursuing the concept.
In other business Monday night, the council:
‰Approved Boo on Broad to be held downtown on Tuesday, Oct. 31 between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Broad Street will be closed to thru traffic from Third Avenue N.E./N.W. down to M.L. King Jr. Ave. S.W. and Second Avenue S.E. for the downtown trick or treating event.
‰Voted to accept the recommendation of the city manager to abandon a 200 foot by 19 foot strip of land between Eighth Street S.W. and Ninth Street S.W. to the adjoining property owners. According to Addleton, the property was intended for a street that has never been constructed and there are no plans for the city to use it for any purpose. The city was contacted about abandoning the property to eliminate the strip as a foot path. The property will be deeded to Teresa Sanford, William Cooper, Ricky Copeland, Joe Rufus, and Jeanette Rufus.
‰Approved changes to the drug testing procedures as recommended by Archbold Medical Center, which coordinates the city’s drug testing program.

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