The County Cubicle: Fleet management … mowers to loaders

Editor’s note: In an effort to keep residents informed on happenings within county government, county employees will contribute biweekly articles for “The County Cubicle.”
These articles may include responses to reader questions or expression of interest. Readers are encouraged to submit questions or suggestions to County Administrator Pat Hooker at 878-9436 or phooker@co.rio-blanco.co.us

The Fleet Management Department was established in 1990 to provide an economical and reliable fleet of vehicles and equipment for use by all county departments. The fleet includes more than 300 pieces of equipment from lawn mowers to loaders, cars to compactors.
A list of vehicles and equipment from all departments was compiled and additional needs and duplications were analyzed. A preliminary plan was established for selling unneeded items and prioritizing additional needs.
In order to increase efficiency and reduce costs, a current value and useful life was placed on each item. This was the basis for establishing the value and the amount of capital needed to start and sustain the fleet for future needs.
The next element was to provide the capital necessary to start the process of replacing outdated equipment and to purchase needed equipment. An allowance for vehicle and equipment replacement was established. This “savings” account is called the fleet replacement reserve fund. As each piece of equipment ages, replacement at the end of its useful life is provided for by the reserve fund.
Fleet management has developed programs and agreements with venders providing equipment to the county. For example, there are five loaders which are traded every two years for a pre-established cost. This creates extremely low ownership cost for this equipment, which is never more than two years old and is always covered under warranty. Similar cost saving programs are being developed for other equipment in the fleet.
Fleet management is also responsible for repairs and maintenance of all vehicles and equipment.
To accomplish this, fleet management has six full-time mechanics working in shops located in Rangely and Meeker, as well as the occasional emergency field repair.
With an eye on the future, fleet management has been in communication with local energy companies to establish a natural gas fueling station pilot program. This would enable the county to utilize dual fuel and natural gas vehicles.
Day-to-day operations is the final area of fleet management responsibility. This includes supplying fuel, oil changes, tires and minor repairs. It is fleet management’s goal to provide fully operational equipment so that all county departments are able to function efficiently.
Questions regarding fleet management operations can be directed to 878-9590.