Transportation Allowances for City Employees
The City currently provides car allowances to approximately 40 employees, the annual cost being $258,000 based on the following allocation:
Amount # of Employees
These employees are classified in 2 groups.Group 1 consists of employees who receive an allowance because they are required to drive extensively as part of their jobs.This group includes building inspectors,construction managers,deputy fire chiefs and operational staff in Public Works and in Parks,Recreation & Culture.This is a fair arrangement.
The second classification of employees receiving a car allowance, Group 2, are senior managers (ie: The City Manager,General Managers,Directors) who receive a transportation allowance as part of their compensation.This is an unfair arrangement because the allowance is not provided because these employees are required to use their private vehicles extensively for City business (they are not), but rather because of who they are.The concept of providing this extraordinary benefit to senior staff was conceived by senior staff about 15 years ago and agreed to by a compliant Council of the day.There are approximately 10 of these employees, working in offices located in City Hall or at the nearby Annex building.The annual cost to taxpayers for these 10 individuals is about $78,000.
There will of course be regular occasions when senior staff require a vehicle to travel about the City or other destinations.Let me propose a suggestion to save some money, as follows.Today it is possible to purchase vehicles at 0% interest over 5 years. A well equipped Toyota Corolla (for example) costs $24,000 which includes destination and all taxes.The monthly payment would be $400 which amounts to $4,800 per year.Add $1,000 for gas,$1,000 for maintenance,$1,500 for insurance which brings the total to $8,300 per year for one car.Purchase 3 of these vehicles, park them at City Hall for use by the 10 senior employees,and the taxpayer realizes a saving of over $50,000 per year. An additional saving would be realized at the end of the 5 years on the trade in value of the vehicles.
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Better yet, why not use SMART cars. These two seaters cost less to buy and less to operate than the Prius’ which the city has bought. After all, we are concerned to get the employees to the sites they need to visit. How often does this mean more than one person?
To me, transportation allowance implies bus fares, not the provision of cars that include personal use. What vehicles make up our Nanaimo provide-a-car fleet? And how do we purchase/lease them? On a fleet replacement basis every 2-3 years or do we go out for new ones whenever? Do we, in addition, have another fleet of cars which are unassigned and can be checked out when needed?
The majority of car allowances are when they use their own vehicles so buying the City hybrids or smart cars does nothing to help those that use their own vehicles for city business.