Wicomico Council Weighs Fleet Management Option

SALISBURY – Leaders in Wicomico County this week agreed to proceed with discussions on a fleet management program.

Representatives from Enterprise Fleet Management – which provides leasing and replacement services for business and government vehicles – met with the Wicomico County Council in a work session on Tuesday to present a program that is expected to save the county money by gradually replacing the its aging fleet of vehicles.

Marc Werner, government marketing manager for Enterprise Fleet Management, told the council that 54 percent of the county’s fleet – not including vehicles from the sheriff’s department – was more than 10 years old.

“Everybody knows that aged vehicles aren’t efficient, have higher fuel costs and have higher maintenance costs,” he said. “The objective is to lower the age of your fleet, reduce your operational costs, and in turn it’s going to help you run a more efficient fleet.”

By utilizing an open-end lease, representatives from Enterprise Fleet Management said the county would be able to replace its 128-vehicle fleet every five years and could use any savings from resold vehicles to fund future fleet purchases.

“Your current asset is going to fund your future asset rather than having money come out of your capital budget to replace vehicles,” Werner said. “The more vehicles you bring in the lower your operational costs are going to be.”

Through the management program, Werner said the county could save nearly $128,000 in the first year and $772,600 over the course of 10 years.

Councilman John Hall asked how the vehicles would be replaced if the county were to enter into the fleet management program.

“Do you plan on cycling this in, or do it at one time?” he said.

Werner said his company proposed replacing 42 vehicles in the first year.

“I’m not going to deliver 42 vehicles in one month,” he said. “I’d probably do a certain amount each quarter. Operationally it’s a little bit easier for you.”

Councilman Marc Kilmer asked how Enterprise Fleet Management made its money.

“How do you get paid?” he said. “Do you get a cut of the savings?”

Werner noted the county would be obligated to pay a $25 monthly fee for each vehicle.

“Our true profit is in our management fee,” he said.

While he agreed the program was worth considering, Kilmer questioned if the county should seek bids for such services.

“If we want to do something like this, do you think this should be bid out?” he said.

Nick Rice, purchasing agent for Wicomico County, said the county would be able to piggyback off a cooperative contract awarded to Enterprise Fleet Management.

“This satisfies the purchasing requirements we have in the county,” he said.

Rice praised the Enterprise Fleet Management program.

“We really don’t have a full fleet management program, which is why you see that some of these vehicles are hanging out a lot longer than they should and are costing us a lot more than they should,” he said.

The council agreed to proceed with discussions with Enterprise Fleet Management and to draft an agreement, which will be presented to the council at a later date. Rice added that the county would also need to implement a process for moving capital funds for new vehicles out of each department’s budget.

“I think it’s worth looking at,” Councilman Joe Holloway said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.