County to lease new vehicles

Fleet management to save county money on vehicles

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Austin County is making a trial run to start leasing vehicles rather than buying them in hopes of saving the taxpayers exorbitant repair bills on aging autos.

The commissioners court met with representatives of the Enterprise Fleet Management on Monday to talk over the pros and cons of leasing versus buying.

Commissioner Mark Lamp said the county currently spends enough money to replace a vehicle three times over just in maintenance of decades-old trucks and other vehicles.

“This is not a bad plan and in a year we get to review it,” he said.

“It’s not really a lease, it’s fleet management,” said Billy Dobosz, a regional sales manager for Enterprise.

He explained that with fleet management, vehicles – excluding sheriff’s office vehicles – are routinely monitored and replaced at low mileage thresholds so their resale value is higher. Additionally, they have a resale market that gets higher prices than the public auctions local governments are required to use when selling vehicles.

“Most of these vehicles, we’re going to rotate you out of them annually, so there’ll be very little maintenance,” Dobosz said.

He said there will be a different agreement for sheriff’s office vehicles because they require an expensive package of equipment and are higher-mileage vehicles.

The commissioners voted to try fleet leasing on a 3-1 vote with commissioners Chip Reed and Lamp voting for, along with Judge Tim Lapham. Commissioner Bobby Rinn voted against and Commissioner Randy Reichardt was absent.

Redistricting preparation

The commissioners unanimously approved a $20,000 contract for legal services with Allison, Bass and Magee to help the county with redistricting after the census is taken in 2020. Political districts are re-drawn every 10 years after the census is conducted.

Other action:

  • In other action Monday, the commissioners made proclamations declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month and German American Heritage Month;
  • Received updates on plans for renovating the sheriff’s office and jail, the new justice center, the Sealy EMS facility, and several road and bridge facilities;
  • Made amendments to the 2019-2020 compensation order;
  • Approved two small subdivisions of property;
  • Agreed to apply to the Houston-Galveston Area Council for solid waste grant funds;
  • Entered an agreement with Dr. Benjamin Oei to serve as Medical Director of Emergency Medical Services for the county;
  • Approved a matching grant of $2,428.84 for the Bulletproof Vest partnership Initiative;
  • Accepted a grant to purchase 19 laptop computers for the sheriff’s office;
  • Renewed an interlocal agreement with Fort Bend County for jail services; and
  • Approved a number of agreement renewals and made other various purchases, among other actions.

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