Missouri’s Natural Resources Department is cutting just over five dozen vehicles from its statewide fleet — and using another two dozen vehicles in the existing fleet as replacements for some of the first 62, instead of buying new.
DNR spokeswoman Connie Patterson said Friday the reductions are part of the department’s work in the governor’s Fleet Management Task Force that also has resulted in vehicle reductions in the Office of Administration’s Jefferson City-based fleet and in the University of Missouri system.
“Everybody jumped in and participated in the exercise,” Patterson explained. “We asked each of our divisions to do that research and make recommendations (for saving money) and, as a team, we all worked together and made those choices.
“They’re hard choices to make, but they’re necessary — and, in some cases, it was like, ‘Here’s where we can find some efficiencies, and work together to achieve a greater good.’”
Patterson provided the News Tribune with a fact sheet noting DNR began its vehicle usage review between April and June 2017.
“At that time, our fleet size was 624,” she said. “From this usage analysis, the department was able to identify 86 vehicles — approximately 14 percent of the fleet — to be slated for reduction, which will result in better utilization of our remaining vehicles.”
In the 2017-18 business year, which ends June 30, Patterson reported the department “identified 61 vehicles that were at the end of their useful life and needed to be replaced. Instead of purchasing new vehicles, the department was able to use 24 of the vehicles that were identified for reduction to replace the vehicles that were at the end of their useful life.
“This saved the department an estimated amount of $582,934” — the estimated cost for replacing those vehicles with newer ones.
In a news release announcing the changes, Gov. Eric Greitens said the total cut was 86 vehicles, with a $2.2 million tax savings.
But those numbers include the vehicles being reassigned rather than eliminated.
“It’s amazing what can be accomplished with some common sense,” Greitens said in a statement. “It’s your money and we’re fighting to make sure the government doesn’t waste a cent of it.”
The DNR fact sheet said 34 of the 62 vehicles already have been surplused, with nine sold for $42,850 in revenue — an average of $4,761 per vehicle.
The total of 62 vehicles being disposed of have an estimated replacement value of $1,669,462, the department said in the fact sheet.
“The department is anticipating that vehicles slated for reduction will be surplused by mid-February,” the fact sheet said.
Greitens’s statement thanked the department and its director, Carol Comer, “for being a budget hawk and defending taxpayer dollars.”
DNR doesn’t anticipate reducing its fleet will cause employees to use their personal vehicles more and charge the state for mileage reimbursement, Patterson said.