Sulphur Springs City Council Tuesday night agreed to change the way the city’s vehicle fleet is attained and managed in the future, a measure estimated to be a significant cost savings to the city.
The City Council approved Resolution No. 1173, which gives City Manager Marc Maxwell authority to handle details to switch from purchasing and maintaining city vehicles to a lease agreement in which Enterprise Fleet Management would finance and manage the city’s fleet.
The matter was first discussed during the July council meeting.
Rami Saad with Enterprise Fleet Management in July asked the city to consider using the company to handle those services for the city.
Saad said Enterprise Fleet Management currently has more than 1,000 government clients and manages over 73,000 vehicles for them. In Texas, the company has more than 90 clients, with more than 7,500 vehicles they oversee.
The benefit to clients, Saad told the council at the July meeting, is to utilize Enterprise’s network infrastructure to reduce costs and streamline the fleet management and replacement process. He explained a schedule for replacing city vehicles over three years and potential savings for doing so. Reducing the age of the vehicles in the fleet, Saad said, will helped reduce costs in maintenance and expenses while improving safety of the vehicles in the fleet.
City Finance Director Lesa Smith told the council at the July meeting that the city department heads, after looking into the matter, were in agreement in recommending the program. Based on the estimates provided, an agreement with Enterprise would save the city money in costs of maintaining older vehicles.
After discussion, the city council at the July meeting opted to table the matter, requesting further study be conducted and additional information and options provided by city staff.
Maxwell said at the July meeting Moore had many questions regarding the program, but the primary one was whether Enterprise could purchase the vehicles at a price lower than what the city could independently.
To address than, city officials asked Enterprise to provide figures on how much the company paid for five specific vehicles, the models most recently purchased by the city. A comparison showed a “significant saving on a couple of the vehicles, the savings approaching 25 percent,” the city manager told the council Tuesday evening.
“I showed the table to Councilman Moore, He’s satisfied it will in fact save us money. If he were here, the discussion would be a little bit different than it was last time,” Maxwell told the council Tuesday night, noting Moore’s absence from Tuesday’s meeting.
“Last time, I had it tabled because it seemed like it was going to have a back and forth between Doug and Enterprise. That also gave me time to talk to Doug — Mr. Moore. Doing so, I consulted with my son and the company that my company leases vehicles from. It’s hands down, it’s not even a question whether we should do this,” City Councilman Jimmy Lucas said Tuesday.
Lucas said he had lengthy discussions with his son and discussion with Moore regarding the matter.
“I wanted to make sure were were making the right decision, because once we start going this direction, I want to stay going that direction,” Lucas said.
Councilman John Sellers, who was unable to attend the July meeting, asked if other leasing agencies had been contacted.
“I had understood from my leasing company, that my company leases from, what we were doing, they were the best. That came from my leasing company,” Lucas noted.
“Enterprise Fleet Management has a contract for a purchasing cooperative, that’s why. They’re the lowest,” Smith said.
“I just didn’t know about the local dealers, have we talked to any that have leasing situations?” Sellers replied.
The resolution authorizing Maxwell to “executive master agreement Enterprise Fleet Management to finance and manage the replacement of the City’s” vehicle fleet was approved on a 5-0 vote; Councilmen Doug Moore and Freddie Taylor were not in attendance at the meeting.
“Next year’s budget just got better by about $200,000,” Maxwell quipped after the motion passed.