Fleet maintenance to be privatized, Frisco motor vehicle office closed
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Belt-tightening at the county government level continued this week with the announcement that vehicle maintenance operations will be privatized.
Assistant county manager Scott Vargo said the change will result in the loss of three management jobs, for a savings of about $100,000 annually. The county expects to save another $600,000 per year in operational costs with the switch.
Previous budget cuts trimmed about $635,000 in operational costs and $1.35 million in personnel costs from the county’s budget.
Vargo said there no more major cuts on the horizon.
“We hope the rest of the county staff can rest a little easier now,” he said. He expects that all 11 mechanics working at the county facility will be rehired by First Vehicle Services, a private company that provides similar services for other municipalities, including Thornton.
In a press release, the county said: “Due to First Vehicle Services experience, resources and buying power we will be able to improve our fleet’s performance, reduce the size of our fleet, and the expense associated with its maintenance. First Vehicle will conduct a review of existing county staff for opportunities to work as employees of First Vehicle Services in similar capacities regarding the maintenance of County vehicles.
The second change will be the closure of the Frisco motor vehicle location in April, 2011. All motor vehicle registration/license plate functions will be relocated to the Summit County Courthouse in Breckenridge. The closure impacts will be mitigated by the introduction of on-line vehicle registration renewal services and an anticipated increase in the popularity of mail-in vehicle registration renewals. This consolidation will allow increased staff flexibility within the Clerk and Recorder’s Office improving overall service with less staff. As was the case with previous personnel reductions, affected staff will be offered a reasonable severance.
The press release continued: “These have been difficult decisions but they are necessitated by the fact that sales tax and other revenue collections are down over 20 percent from 2008, and property tax revenue will drop approximately 20 percent in 2012. It is important to note that even if property values rebound, the County’s ability to return to previous tax revenue levels is limited by numerous Colorado statutes and constitutional provisions
“The Board of County Commissioners regret having to eliminate positions, but the vast majority of County expenses are tied to salaries and benefits and such cuts could not be avoided when facing revenue reductions of this magnitude.
“The people whose jobs are affected have dedicated themselves for many years to Summit County Government. We want to thank all of these individuals for their hard work with Summit County over the years and we wish them the very best in their future endeavors. Although we will continue to explore ways to improve the delivery of services to Summit County citizens and guests and reduce costs these are the last changes we plan to implement.”