Many small-town governments are looking hard at their fleet expenditures to ease strained budgets due to pump pains. One way to cut costs is to limit city employees from taking home fleet vehicles, according to news reports. The mayor of Greenwood, Ind. is directing the police and fire chiefs to take away certain take-home vehicles, according to an Indianapolis Eyewitness News report. The Mayor estimates that at least $1,000 a month will be saved. Mayor Charles Henderson says officers who live inside the city can still drive police cars to and from work. But they cannot drive them for personal use. The police chief will make exceptions for special departments such as SWAT teams. The plan may face opposition. When Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut tried to put an end to take-home cars in 1977, the officers parked all the cars in protest in front of the city building, the report said. In Franklin, Ind., Mayor Brenda Jones-Matthews said after-hours use of municipal vehicles is over. "We have several take-home vehicles and the employees are taxed $3 per day as income to have them," she told the Indianapolis Star. Franklin's firefighters will not be driving engines to the grocery store and taking other nonessential trips. Shelbyville, Ind. Police Chief John West is requiring officers using city vehicles for private security jobs to put $5 worth of gasoline in their patrol cars for each use, the Star said. The mayor of Brookfield, Wis. recommended last week that that any future city employees hired should not be given a take-home car, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. Mayor Jeff Speaker said current employees who have a take-home vehicle - either because it was promised at the time of their hire or through other bargaining - should be given two options. They should be allowed to travel for city business either by picking up a city fleet vehicle or by using their personal vehicle and then getting reimbursed for mileage at the federal IRS rate. Putnam County, NY Executive Robert Bondi announced announced August 30 he was pulling back on a policy allowing county employees to take home county-owned vehicles, according to a report in the Journal News. Two department heads — of emergency services and highways and facilities — will be exempt from the new policy. The county's fleet was at nearly 375 cars and that roughly 100 vehicles went home with county employees. Annual savings to the county is estimated to be at least $100,000. "It was getting very difficult explaining to my constituents what a county car is doing at the supermarket on a weekend morning," said county Legislative Chairman Robert McGuigan, R-Mahopac.
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