The city of Jackson is considering a contract with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to allow the company to manage the city’s fleet of vehicles, a move that city officials say will save thousands of dollars. dollars per year.
In a presentation to the Budget and Audit Committee Thursday morning, the city’s budget committee met Thursday to discuss a potential contract with Enterprise to manage the city’s fleet, a move that could save thousands of people. The company has offered to slow-roll the 462 vehicles the city currently owns and manages, and to cycle in new vehicles that will be managed in partnership with the company.
The change will allow the city to “get the most out of the vehicles, while selling the vehicles as long as they are worth some resale value,” according to Enterprise representative Mary Elizabeth Roe.
“We want to make sure these are leveraged as efficiently as possible,” she said.
The city currently has 81 vehicles over 20 years old, and only 91 of the 462 are less than five years old.
These vehicles follow an average replacement cycle of 18 years, which Roe says is “not sustainable.”
“City budgets are always limited, and what always gets thrown back on the road, whenever possible, is often vehicles,” she said. “If you keep buying like this, the city will never catch up with you. The way you do it today will not be enough for you for the next 10 years.
According to Roe’s preliminary calculations, the city will save just over $350,000 in the first year alone by working with Enterprise fleet management.
The plan will also see the police department replace 140 Dodge Chargers with Ford Interceptors, a move that will reduce maintenance costs.
“Long story short, there’s a lot of opportunity here,” Roe said. “This is a great opportunity for the city to move, from a ratepayer perspective, to safer, more reliable vehicles that will cost less at the door.”
Enterprise currently manages many fleets in the state, including counties like Hamilton and Rutherford County, cities like Chattanooga, Crossville, and Livingston, and even the Memphis-Shelby County Schools System, among others.
Council member and head of the budget committee Paul Taylor agreed with the sentiments expressed in the presentation, but stresses that no deal has yet been reached – the city is simply exploring its options.
“Today we looked at an interesting proposal from Enterprise Fleet Management to manage the city’s entire fleet,” he said. “And it could save us money on vehicle maintenance and fuel costs, and get some of our aging and dangerous vehicles off the road.”
Taylor pointed out that the current fleet management system is an unavoidable problem that should be addressed, given the rate of “wear and tear” the city puts on vehicles.
“If we were going at the rate we are going now, it would take us 18 years to replace our fleet,” he said. “It’s just not sustainable with the amount of wear and tear that we put on our vehicles. At that point, that vehicle or truck is in the same condition that we have now. So we’re looking at ways creative ways to solve this problem.
Taylor also mentioned that such a management system would greatly benefit law enforcement and first responders in Jackson—hopefully boosting recruitment and retention for departments, an issue that has plagued them for years.
“We discussed how we could incorporate some of the retention and recruitment opportunities that we looked at into this program,” he said. “In addition to starting to move a capital budget that we have already planned for vehicles and moving them into this proposal to reduce this capital requirement.”
Whether Enterprise is the right choice for Jackson remains to be seen, but Taylor promises a decision will be made.
“The replacement cycle we find ourselves in is unproductive, so we need to look at other ways to get quality vehicles and equipment on the road,” he said. “It could bring us more money to use in other things and allow us to put new vehicles on the road. It can reduce our fuel consumption and reduce our maintenance costs, which are both very important.
“We need to look at how we start to replace them and how to do it in a sustainable way.”
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