36 Take-home Cars Are Turned In

April 03, 1992|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

The county's crackdown on take-home vehicles has so far led to 36 cars being turned in, some of which may be added to the fleet of 33 cars due to be auctioned off next week.

County officials said the cars were turned in by department heads March 31 as part of an effort tocontrol the number of take-home vehicles. Over the years, the systemhas gotten so out of hand that county officials are now unsure how many cars are actually going home with county employees.

Central Services Director Jerome W. Klasmeier said yesterday thatalong with the 36 cars, another six being used by the Health Department are expected to be turned in. He said health officials first wantto make sure the cars are county property and not state property.

Klasmeier said some of the cars being turned in will likely be included on a list of cars, which now includes 33, due to be sold at an auction for auto dealers scheduled for 9:30 a.m. April 11 at Colonial Auction in Wayson's Corner.

Surplus vehicles are routinely auctioned off about twice a month, Klasmeier said.

The cars on the list are from 3 to 25 years old. They include Nissans, Dodge Diplomats and various makes of Fords and Chevrolets, and have an average of 80,000 miles on them, according to the list.

Klasmeier last month sent memos to county department heads announcing that anyone taking home a county car would have to pay 18 cents a mile for travel to or from work.

The memo was distributed with a packet of forms to be completed by department directors, justifying each car being taken home and estimating the number of miles each car is driven daily.

Klasmeier said forms went out for 650 vehicles.

Officials say the new policy was imposed to bring consistency to a practice that was unregulated inprevious administrations.

Under the new policy, depart ment headsand employees on call 24 hours a day will continue to have access totake-home vehicles. The policy also includes zoning inspectors, building inspectors and right-of-way agents whose work takes them on the road.

The policy was actually implemented in December, when about 70 people gave up their cars, including deputy department heads.

Until now, workers have been subject to federal tax for the use of their cars, essentially paying taxes as if the cars were equal to incomeof $3 per day.

Under the new policy, employees will not be subject to the federal tax.

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