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County pushes car rentals in cost-saving move

– As of April 1, county employees will use rental cars instead of driving their own vehicle for any trip of more than 75 miles.

The Allen County commissioners approved the policy Friday with Commissioner Nelson Peters saying the policy will cut down on costs and pare the number of county-owned vehicles.

The county has been paying employees’ mileage – 56.5 cents a mile – and for a round trip to Indianapolis the reimbursement totaled more than $140, said Chris Cloud, administrative assistant to the commissioners.

The county will be able to use a state contract with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and obtain a car for $26.99 a day, Cloud said.

Commissioner Therese Brown has already participated in a pilot program for the rental policy.

Brown said she recently spent a few days in Indianapolis on county business and used a rental car.

The bill from Enterprise was about $73, she said.

“The mileage (reimbursement) would have been considerably higher,” she said.

Employees will first be urged to form a carpool with a county vehicle whenever possible, Peters said.

Rental vehicles are to be refueled at one of the county fueling stations and if someone uses more gasoline while traveling, they will be reimbursed, Cloud said.

The rentals will be applicable only for standard-size rental cars or minivans for more than four passengers, according to the policy.

The county currently has 180 passenger vehicles and light trucks and 115 police cars, not including vans, motorcycles and SWAT vehicles, said Robert Bolenbaugh, county purchasing director.

Of the three commissioners, only Linda Bloom drives a county-owned vehicle.

Peters has led efforts to take a second look at county-owned vehicles.

He said two years ago that he was in favor of getting rid of the vehicles after the commissioners discovered the county was paying $30,000 more than expected in auto insurance. Each vehicle costs about $1,000 to insure.