BENTON -- Scott County commissioners are looking for ways to save money when it comes to maintaining the fleet of vehicles used by the Sheriff's Department.
During the regular commission meeting Thursday, Sheriff Rick Walter informed the commissioners the transmission on one vehicle is damaged and needs to be repaired. However, repairs would cost more than the car is worth.
Ron McCormick, commissioner, noted that he spent part of the day on Wednesday on patrol with a deputy to get a feel for what the shift is like for them and how busy they are. The deputy "said each deputy drives about 200 miles a shift," said McCormick. And from McCormick's experience, the majority of those miles are traveled en route to calls.
At 200 miles per shift, most of the vehicles accumulate approximately 73,000 miles per year, with the exception of supervisor vehicles, which are not used as much. But, some cars are shared, which doubles the mileage.
McCormick noted that with the standard of two vehicles being replaced each year, the mileage will be quite high on some vehicles by the time they are rotated out of the fleet. "It's obvious the odometer readings are growing," he said.
He asked whether it may be more cost effective to lease vehicles.
Walter and Jamie Burger, presiding commissioner, noted that option had been looked at years ago, but was never pursued.
Another possibility is to purchase cars -- at least as a replacement for now -- used from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The patrol replaces cars and sells them once the odometer reads 50,000, and municipalities often purchase them, said Burger.
"Why don't we explore our option of purchasing one of those cars," asked Burger. Walter said he would check on that, in addition to researching the cost to lease cars, and report back to the commission.
In other news Thursday, representatives from First State Bank and Trust in Sikeston met with commissioners to discuss services offered. The bank has the bid as the county's depository and wanted to make commissioners aware of what they can provide, in response to a presentation another bank recently made to the commission.
"Other banks have approached you all on services I think we can offer you also," said Mike Marshall, president. He wanted to get an idea of the county's needs and expectations, and said the bank, which is putting the final touches on some products and services, could tailor some to the county's needs.
"I'm not really sure what our expectations and needs are at this time," said Burger. "They simply came to make a presentation, it wasn't anything we solicited."
Marshall said the bank can offer re-loadable cards to be used for gas and other expenses, remote data capturing to deposit checks from the courthouse instead of making a trip to the bank, and others. It could also be used to pay county employees who don't have bank accounts, as the card would be reloaded each payday. The county would benefit by earning a portion of the vendor fees collected by the bank.
Burger suggested that, when the bid is up for the depository service, the bank can come up with some sort of package to address what it offers that may be of use to the county.
Marshall pointed out, however, they county can take advantage of some services before then if needed.
Glenda Enderle, treasurer, said she's "not thrilled" about the idea of the county going paperless, since it would eliminate the trail.
"I just don't think for the work that it's going to cause my office that we're going to make enough (to justify it)," she said. Also, it may make it more difficult for employees to remember to keep receipts to turn in for expenses.
Marshall said that, if the county elected to do so, a few cards could be set up as samples to see how the process would work. For now, the bank will work on a proposal and submit it within the next few months, he said.
Also on Thursday, Sheriff Walter turned over a check for $31,964 to the county. The funds reflect fees collected over the past month, in addition to booking fees and medical co-pays from 2007.
Booking fees of $6,717.88 was turned over to reflect those collected from January to September 2007. Walter said additional fees will be turned over, but due to the old computer system, an employee must manually go through all the paperwork and log each one. Medical co-pays of $3,395.37 were also turned over for the year 2007, which was backlogged for the same reason.
The department now has a new system, so once the paperwork is caught up, work hours will no longer be devoted to manually checking the papers, Walter noted.