Jun 7, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff WriterTires and raises make up most of a $216,000 increase in the Fremont County Vehicle Maintenance Department's proposed budget for fiscal year 2014.
Department supervisor Glen Steers presented his department's request for a total of $991,000 at a May 21 hearing with the Fremont County Commission.
He said the vehicle maintenance proposed budget includes a 5 percent raise for all employees as well as $2,000 raises for two employees based on merit. In addition, he said the Lander and Riverton road crews together need more than $150,000 in new tires.
"It's not a question of anything more than need," Steers said. "If they're on the highway, (the Wyoming Department of Transportation) says when you get to a certain point you have to change them."
He said his department typically keeps replacement tires on hand so crews can replace them immediately without having to go to a store or wait for a store to have the tire in stock. Last year, however, in an effort to cut costs, Steers said his department depleted the stockpiled tires without replacing them. He had employees tally up the tires they would need to replace in the next year, and he added that cost to the budget.
Commissioner Travis Becker said did not favor stockpiling tires. He recommended the vehicle maintenance department keep track of the wear on tires and order new ones shortly ahead of time.
Steers also is anticipating increased repair costs in the future, since warranties for four of the county's Caterpillar motor graders are expiring this summer. While the machines were under warranty for the past six year, Steers said Caterpillar spent nearly $700,000 to fix the motor graders.
To reduce the repair burden that now will impact county coffers, Steers suggested subscribing to Caterpillar's diagnostic software so local staff can be trained to repair heavy equipment from the company.
"We believe we can reduce the average annual maintenance and repair cost by 40 percent if we have the tools and training necessary to provide repairs," Steers said in his budget document.
The Commission will continue discussing finances through June and propose a budget on June 30. The board plans to hold a public hearing on the budget July 8 and will finalize the county's financial plan July 9.
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