Saturday, December 24, 2005

Extreme Fuel Efficiency

As the City Council recently reviewed a list of proposed leases through the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA), Councilman Cory Storch asked whether the city could request that five Inspections vehicles on the list be fuel-efficient hybrid models.

Finance Director Ron West reminded him that the council had eliminated all five vehicles from the list in a prior discussion. The council also decided to reduce a proposed lease of 15 new police cars to 10, he said.

Eliminating the 10 vehicles surely had the unintended effect of improving fuel efficiency, but the larger question at the Dec. 19, 2005 special meeting soon became why the figures were mixed up.

West had the revised list that reflected the council’s cuts. Items requested included the remaining 10 police cars, renovations at the city jail, portable radios and an emergency generator, among other things, for a total cost of $1,184,000.

The UCIA offers county municipalities savings on such expenditures by using its ability to issue bonds.

It turned out the council packet prepared by the City Clerk’s office still had the original list of requests, totaling $2,137,000. Corporation Counsel Jacqueline Drakeford said the wrong figure was also attached to the lease agreement document.

The discrepancy led to tabling the ordinance. It will be taken up, along with numerous other matters including passage of the 2005-06 municipal budget, in the New Year.

--Bernice Paglia

KEYWORDS: budget, inspections


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