Local government should crank up oversight of vehicles

Published 12:06 am Sunday, July 15, 2012

If the 200-plus cars, trucks and buses that collectively make up the city and county fleets were viewed as cash, taxpayers would be irate over the lack of oversight.

But, cars and trucks aren’t terribly important, or so it seems by looking at the records kept by those responsible for their oversight.

At least a few million dollars worth of taxpayer-funded cars, trucks and buses roll along Adams County roads, but no one in either city or county government keeps a close watch on their use — or abuse.

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One would think items of such high value, owned by the public, would be better managed and cared for by local leaders.

The opposite seems true, however. Pinpointing exactly how many vehicles are taxpayer owned — and more important, who drives them and for what purpose — is a frustrating study in just how screwed up local government can be sometimes.

More than 200 hundred vehicles regularly crank up and burn taxpayer fuel and other maintenance costs, yet the management of those vehicles is rather lackadaisical.

No one seems to be paying attention, let alone asking: Do we need all of these vehicles, are they being properly used and should they be replaced more frequently.

We’re not against all public cars. Clearly some are extremely needed, as in patrol officers and fire officials.

But we cannot help but believe some of the taxpayer cars and trucks should be considered “non-essential” and removed from the inventories thus saving tax dollars in the process.

If no one even knows how many cars taxpayers own and who regularly uses them, how on earth can elected leaders begin to clean up the mess? Clearly some simple oversight is in order.