City looking to save on fleet

COVINGTON -- Elected officials in Covington are examining ways to cut the cost of maintaining the city fleet.

The City Council recently agreed to table a proposal from Enterprise Fleet Management for further study.

Enterprise analyzed 89 light-duty vehicles owned by the city to determine cost savings of leasing the vehicles through Enterprise versus ownership.

Carol Nagle of Enterprise said the city could see a cost savings of $737,879 over a span of 10 years through a new fleet management program that would also entail shortening the lifespan of its vehicles. Currently, the city keeps light-weight vehicles for about 16 years on average. Nagle recommended decreasing that to five years to save on maintenance costs.

She said 36 percent of the fleet analyzed is 10 years or older, 15 percent is 15 years or older and 36 percent have more than 100,000 miles.

Nineteen vehicles could be replaced the first year of the program, for a savings of $25,000, she said.

The city also has seven vehicles with less than 3,600 miles of use after one year that are used less than 300 miles a day. These are considered underutilized vehicles and the city might save money by eliminating these from the fleet, and instead borrowing vehicles from other departments or renting, Nagle said.

Nagle also recommended outsourcing maintenance of smaller vehicles to shops within the community to free up the city's maintenance shop to focus on larger vehicles.

Council members said they need more time to study the proposal and agreed to table the matter.

In other news, Councilman Chris Smith said he wants the city attorney to draw up an ordinance regulating the wearing of baggy pants for the council's consideration.

"I think it would really help dress up our town to get these guys wearing their pants where they should be," Smith said.

Councilwoman Janet Goodman said such an ordinance would be hard to regulate.

"As bad as I hate it, I think we've got too many things that are more pressing. I don't think we need to tell folks (how to wear their pants). It's not my responsibility," Goodman said.

The city of Porterdale is currently considering a similar ordinance. Initially, Porterdale's proposed ordinance prohibited wearing pants or skirts more than 3 inches below the hips, exposing the skin or undergarments.

But Porterdale City Attorney Tim Chambers read a letter from Solicitor Robert Piccaretto in which he wrote that wearing saggy pants has been deemed to be a form of expression.

"A pure saggy pants ordinance" could result in costly litigation for the city, Piccaretto advised, and he suggested letting other jurisdictions "test the waters" until there is a definitive judicial ruling on the matter.

The Porterdale Council approved the first and second readings of the ordinance, with Post 1 Coucilwoman Anita Rainey opposed. The council then went on to vote to strike the subsection of the ordinance that specifically addressed wearing baggy pants or skirts more than 3 inches below the top of the hips. With that section removed, the ordinance essentially mirrors the state's public indecency ordinance.

The council agreed to discuss the ordinance again at the March 13 work session. The ordinance could come up for a final vote at the April 2 meeting.

Editor Alice Queen contributed to this story.