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450 Vehicles for 350 Palm Coast City Employees? Council Bridles at “Urban Legend”

| August 11, 2010

number  of palm coast city vehicles

Those aren't imaginary. But about 180 of them are, going by some residents' count of Palm Coast city vehicles. (© FlaglerLive)

Of the 13 people who addressed the Palm Coast City Council at a public, budget meeting last week, three brought it up: The city has too many vehicles, they claimed.

The implication was in the very first speaker’s second question “How many vehicles does the city owns compared to the number of employees?” Another speaker put a number on it: “Why can’t we cut the salaries of the city employees and get rid of the 436 trucks that I think we have?” Moments later, yet another speaker, sarcastically referring to the extensive amount of space available at the county government building, said, to laughter and applause, “there’s enough parking spaces for 430 vehicles.”

When council members spoke of the criticism at a subsequent budget workshop on Monday, Mayor Jon Netts had upped what he called the “urban legend” of the city’s extensive fleet to 450 vehicles.

The number is, top say the least, generously inflated.

The city has between 340 and 350 employees. It has a total of 285 vehicles. Those include the firetrucks and other vehicles at the fire department. They include the utility department’s 85 vehicles. They include those strange-looking vehicles you see digging around and repairing swales. They also include 13 off-road maintenance vehicles for the city’s golf course (no, not carts).

When Ray Britt, the city’s finance director, put the figure in that range during that meeting attended by many residents upset about the city’s seeming largesse toward its own, the crowd groaned in response, as if casting doubt on the hard figures in front of Britt. The finance manager was visibly annoyed. “If anybody wants to go to the back of the budget book in the capital improvement section, there is a list of all city vehicles, including the tractors and stuff that we use to mow.  And I’ve got that list up here,” Britt said,  pointing emphatically at his binder. “I’d be glad to meet with anybody after the meeting, there is not 400 pieces of equipment on this list, so if you want to catch me after the meeting, I’ll be glad to go over that with you.”

It’s not that the city doesn’t, in fact, have a generous fleet-management fund. The fund was set up early in the city’s life (Palm Coast incorporated in 1999) to enable the city to finance new vehicles on a rotating basis, so every year a portion of government funds are deposited into the specified fleet management fund. That’s how, for example, the fire department was able to pay for a new $374,000 fire truck this year.

That fund will have $4.8 million in the coming budget year, with $2.6 million budgeted in spending. Next year, in 2012, despite the spending in 2011, the fleet-management fund will grow to $5.9 million—and to $6.6 million by 2015. Spending in 2012 is set to be $5 million, going down to $3.4 million in 2013 and $2.6 million in 2014.

Below is a breakdown of city vehicles, as well as a breakdown of the cost of most city vehicles.

Number of Palm Coast City Vehicles By Department or Fund

Passenger VehiclesSpecialty VehiclesOff-Road EquipmentTotal
General Fund832343149
Utility Fund6612785
Stormwater Management Fund1051025
Building Permits & Inspections Fund8008
Golf Course Fund001313
Information Technology &Communications Fund2002
Fleet Management Fund3003
The general fund, where property taxes are collected, pays for the fire department and its vehicles, code enforcement inspectors, and so on. Source: Palm Coast City Council.

City of Palm Coast Vehicle Costs

Utility Body - Streets$10,000
Passenger Van - Fire$19,700
Pickups (Crew Cab & 4x4) (2-streets/1-Utility)$52,770
Dump Truck - Stormwater$110,000
30 Ton Trailer - Stormwater$30,000
Bush Hog - Stormwater$15,400
Utility F-350 - Stormwater$35,000
Utility Body F-550 -Stormwater$35,000
Mini-Excavator - Storm water$70,000
Mowers - Streets (5)$158,100
Multi-Terrain Loader - Utility$79,000
Skid Loader - Streets$26,400
Skid Steer - Stormwater$91,000
Spray Rig - Parks$24,000
Top Dresser - Parks$15,500
Trailer - Stormwater$15,000
Source: Palm Coast City Council

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2 Responses for “450 Vehicles for 350 Palm Coast City Employees? Council Bridles at “Urban Legend””

  1. PCadiron says:

    Hey, at least I see a Prius in that picture:) I guess they are saving money on fuel.

  2. Dorothea says:

    The same group of clueless bean counters that complained about the 450 city owned vehicles also wanted to relocate the Palm Coast City Hall to Bunnell.

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