TEXARKANA, Texas — After a decade of consistent investment, a hefty budget fund is keeping the city's fleet of vehicles in the best possible condition to serve residents, officials say.
City staff forecast more than $2 million in expenditures from the capital replacement fund in Fiscal Year 2020 to maintain or replace vehicles in an inventory of about 130. They include police cruisers, fire trucks, heavy equipment and other vehicles city employees use to do their jobs.
The proposed FY20 budget transfers $1.7 million from the city's general fund into the capital replacement fund, which is forecast to end the year with a balance of almost $2.8 million. It will be the latest in a series of annual investments dating back to a 2009 starting balance of more than $1 million.
The fund is "the (City) Council's commitment to ensuring we have the tools we need to do our job," said Lisa Thompson, economic development manager.
City fleet vehicles have come a long way since each department was responsible for budgeting for them on an ad hoc basis, City Manager Shirley Jaster said. By the time the capital replacement fund was established, many were nearly inoperable.
"Before we implemented this, we were really in dire straits on our equipment," she said. "Our whole fleet was on its last leg."
The Public Works Department is responsible for rotating vehicles out of the fleet every three to four years. The city purchases most new vehicles and leases others.
Maintaining vehicle resale value is a primary purpose of the fund.
The city often sells retired vehicles to Bowie County or neighboring cities, and sale prices are returned to the fund.
Another goal is to represent the county well in public. Code enforcement officers and health inspectors especially need their vehicles to make a professional impression as they are in the field alone enforcing regulations, Thompson said.
The city's vehicle-replacement system works so well that other cities ask to learn about it. Jasper said she is happy to share it with them.
"That is one of the things that we're proud to say as a community: We have good equipment for our personnel," she said.