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Hall County sheriff proposes buying 12-14 patrol cars

POSTED: May 21, 2013 12:08 a.m.

To update its aging fleet, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office is looking at spending $550,000 to buy 12-14 new patrol cars and refurbish another four or five.

The sheriff’s office has bought five patrol cars in the past five years, when “an agency our size should be purchasing 20 to 25 vehicles per year to keep our fleet up to standards,” Sheriff Gerald Couch told the Hall County Board of Commissioners on Monday.

The average car logs about 36,000 miles per year, he said.

Two-thirds of the fleet have been driven more than 100,000 miles, nearly one-fifth have between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, and 9 percent have more than 200,000 miles.

The office plans to take about 47 vehicles out of service, or about 15-17 percent of the fleet, Couch said.

The plan is to sell them through GovDeals, an online government surplus marketplace, and net about $50,000.

The remaining $500,000 would come from 20 or so positions that have been eliminated or frozen at the sheriff’s office.

“On further saving money, I would propose we look at vehicle maintenance,” Couch said.

Over the past three years, the office has spent about $1.3 million in vehicle maintenance.

“If we took two of our current positions and converted those to a vehicle mechanic, we would save quite a bit of money, at least $150,000 per year,” Couch said.

West Hall Commissioner Billy Powell asked about the difference in cars being put out of service and the number of cars that would be bought or refurbished — a net loss of about 30 vehicles.

“A lot of these (surplus) vehicles were assigned to secondary responders, like the courthouse or jail, or they were used as spares or spare parts,” Couch said.

“They are not our front-line vehicles. These vehicles are beyond service and beyond repair at this point and time.”

“So ... for every sheriff’s deputy, there is still going to be a car available?” South Hall Commissioner Craig Lutz asked Couch.

“Yes, and a motor pool,” Couch said.

In other business, County Administrator Randy Knighton told the commission that Gainesville Waste and Recycling was going through a permit process with the state Environmental Protection Division to add 5 acres to the rear of its site off Athens Highway.

“That would not, in any way, impact any setbacks or buffers that had been approved in previous zoning items,” Knighton said.

Also, as part of the permit process, the applicant is supposed to receive a letter from the commission that “the landfill operation meets all applicable zoning and land-use requirements,” he said.

“After evaluating it with our staff, the landfill operator has done everything that was requested of them since late December,” Knighton said.

In December, residents complained about odors from the operation. Upon investigation, the county found out that food waste was being brought to the site.

County officials told the commission at the time that “food waste was prohibited — that the landfill was to be used only for construction and demolition (materials).”

“We have not had, to my knowledge, any citizen complaints since December,” Knighton said.


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