Amarone will write a 3-part series highligting some of the work the City is doing under Mayor Stewart’s SMART City Initiative.
In Part II of the New Britain City Journal series covering Mayor Erin Stewart’s SMART City Initiative, we look at our city vehicle fleet. Like every city, New Britain spends a significant amount of taxpayer dollars on managing and maintaining our vehicles and equipment. From maintaining some of the state’s biggest and notable public parks, to clearing snow and patching potholes on our streets, fuel consumption and vehicle maintenance can get extremely costly.
That’s why in 2016, Mayor Stewart called for a memorandum to reduce the City’s fleet and fuel consumption by 5 percent. In June of 2016, the City owned 384 total vehicles and spent around $700,000 on fuel. By June of 2017, the City saw a $184,000 reduction in fuel costs and a 7.8 percent reduction in owned vehicles, going from 384 to 354. The significant limitations in fuel consumption and vehicle usage exceeded Mayor Stewart’s goal and has allowed the City to get rid of vehicles and equipment that is no longer used by the City, or is more of an expense than an asset.
That’s where GovDeals.com, an online auction for government surplus property, came into play. Just over a year ago, the City began using the service to post about different vehicles and equipment the Public Works Department either wasn’t using anymore or would need to spend a significant amount of money to fix. With more than 8,000 sellers in 48 states, the service allows for governments around the country to buy and sell on a massive EBay like selection of equipment and vehicles. From 2016-2017, 38 vehicles were sold through GovDeals.com, allowing the City to rid of unused vehicles sitting at the Public Works Yard and opening a new stream of revenue while doing so.
Going hand in hand with the City’s reduction in fuel consumption and number of vehicles being used is the City’s most recent project dealing with our fleet.
The City recently partnered with Verizon to install GPS devices on municipal vehicles.
These devices provide real-time, web-based information about the current location of vehicles as well as a history of where they’ve been. The devices also detect idling, excessive stops and turns, and notifies the system when the vehicle needs to be serviced.
Overall, the Verizon GPS system has proved effective, reducing road miles driven by up to 20 percent, thus reducing fuel consumption and vehicle wear and tear.
The GPS system also allows for city officials to see exactly which roads were plowed, how many times, and at what times. Snow emergency operations can now be carried out in a timely and constructive manner, as the City has the capacity to see exactly which streets need attention.
The City’s proactive approach to limiting fuel consumption and extending a vehicle’s life span has already paid off in this year’s fleet report and will continue to save the City hundreds of thousands of dollars moving forward. For more information on the City’s initiative to cut overall costs associated with our fleet, check out the Mayor’s office page under the “Government” tab on the City website.
Next week’s final segment of the three part series will showcase the City’s use of technology and how Mayor Stewart is making it easier for residents to connect with the government agencies they rely on every day.