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September 7, 2017 - 3:30pm

County Highway superintendent provides more details on cost savings if county hires vendor to supply fleet vehicles

posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, news, notify.

County legislators were filled in on a few more details Wednesday on a proposal that could save the county money on its motor vehicle fleet by County Highway Superintendent Tim Hens.

Hens wasn't able to attend the Public Service Committee on Tuesday where the proposal was first pitched to legislators, but he was at Wednesday's Ways and Means Committee meeting.

"It's also important to look at that it's not only $80,000 savings on the bottom line, we're also providing a higher level vehicle to departments," Hens said. "In the current fleet mix we have now, we have a number mid-size, almost compact-size cars that departments are using. ... We're providing across-the-board vehicles to departments more suited to what they want and fits department usage and we're still saving $80,000."

There could be more potential cost savings down the road, Hens said, if the program with Enterprise Rent-A-Car works out and the county converts more of its vehicles, such as County Highway pickup trucks, to the program.

The current proposal calls for Enterprise to replace 47 vehicles currently in the county fleet with 47 new vehicles. Enterprise would sell the used vehicles and return the proceeds to the county (as much as $580,000) and the county would make payments on the new vehicles.

One reason the deal works for the county, Hens explained, is that the vehicles the county will get from Enterprise every four years will be cars, SUVs and vans that have higher resale value than the typical Ford the county gets now (nothing against, Ford, Hens noted, but they don't have great resale value).

"The only difference, really the big difference, is that they are getting just a smidge bit better purchasing prices because they're buying so many vehicles nationwide and where they're really beating us is on resale," Hens said.

Currently, when the county retires a vehicle, it's sold through one of two regional auction houses, limiting the size of the potential buyers' market.

"These guys are selling their vehicles at an Enterprise fleet auction that's covering all of North America so they're driving higher prices on the resale," Hens said.

He added, "The other piece of the puzzle that they do, is they have such a knowledge of what vehicles are pulling in -- higher values -- that they'll have you buy the vehicle in the first place knowing that's going to drive a higher price on resale. Right now, we put a bid out and we're stuck with the low bidder."

The county is looking at switching out the fleet at the start of 2018.

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