In savings bid, county may rent vehicles for travel

Jamie Ritz, a mechanic for Mesa County works on a car at the Mesa County shop on South 9th Street in GJ.

Mesa County is looking to roll on rented wheels.

A proposal that will be before the Mesa County Commission Monday aims to have employees regularly rent vehicles from Thrifty Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car instead of using one of the 10 vehicles the county owns. Using rental cars will save the county 10 cents per mile, hundreds of hours in maintenance and thousands of dollars for replacing vehicles, according to the county.

“It appears to be a real cost-saving measure,” said Commissioner Steve Acquafresca.

The commission directed staff earlier in the year to seek out cost-saving measures. On his own accord, fleet maintenance supervisor Scott Forsgren began comparing the cost of renting cars to operating county motor pool vehicles from January to September, said Kimberly Bullen, senior management analyst for the county.

That nine-month comparison revealed using rental cars saved taxpayers $15,481.

“It’s a little bit more economical to rent the vehicles,” Forsgren said. “We will have a larger variety of vehicles that will bring some efficiencies because of economy.”

Although the study was conducted during record high fuel prices, Mesa County Administrator Jon Peacock said the numbers are still applicable.

“This is an example of us continuing to look for ways to save on fuel and equipment costs,” Peacock said. “I’d be willing to bet fuel prices are going to rise again.”

There is, however, potential for abuse in using rental cars.

“We are going to be urging staff ... to pay attention to rent what they need, but don’t rent more than that,” Acquafresca said.

He added that his fellow commissioners were on board with the proposal and are expected to
approve it Monday.

The switch to rental cars does not mean there will no longer be a county motor pool. The county will maintain several vehicles for business purposes.

The change will not translate into job losses at the motor pool, either.

“There will be no layoffs,” Forsgren said.


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