Commentary: Cash Low? Cars Have To Go

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, February 20, 2009

 In 2001, Sacramento County had 1430 cars. Today the county has 2940 cars, more than twice as many. What changed in eight years? As they contemplate layoffs, furloughs and closing health clinics, Supervisors need to get a handle on their bloated vehicle fleet. If they can’t justify the cars, they should get rid of them.

Then they need to tackle take home cars. More than a third of the county’s fleet, 970 vehicles, are taken home at night by employees. Under current rules, those employees don’t even have to live in the county. They can live 20 miles beyond county borders - as far away as Benicia or Stockton. To accommodate employees who live in the Yuba City area, the county created an 8 mile bump on the north edge of the buffer. Think about it. That’s 28 miles one way, a 56-mile-a-day commute that we pay for before the car even reaches county lines.

Before they lay off another employee or cut services, Sacramento Supervisors need to get rid of some cars. And for employees who must take a county car home – at least make them pay for their own commute.  Who knows – it may save somebody’s job.


Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.