THE HUNTER REPORT

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SHERIFF CLAIM -- SAVINGS & BELT TIGHTENING

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17 NEW CROWN VICTORIAS PARKED BEHIND JUSTICE CENTER- DECEMBER 31, 2010

BUDGET COMMITTEE -- NO SAVINGS

BY: PAT HUNTER

In 2009 Ford announced that it would permanently discontinue its Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car models. This was not a complete surprise, as high gas prices and the ongoing struggles faced the American car industry. Ford Motor Co. said that it plans to sell a new police cruiser vehicle to replace its Crown Victoria "Police Interceptor" once the sedan is phased out of production in 2011. The automaker said the new vehicle will be more fuel efficient and offer lower ownership costs to municipalities than the existing Crown Victoria law enforcement vehicle. Ford said it is working with its Ford's Police Advisory Board of law enforcement professionals, which provided input on key vehicle attributes such as safety, performance, durability, driver comfort and functionality. The new interceptor will be offered without interruption when the Crown Victoria is discontinued. Police departments across the country have been expanding their once Crown Vic-dominated fleets to include newer sedans, especially the Chevrolet Impala and Dodge Charger.

At the Dec. 6, 2010 Loudon County Commission meeting, I spoke about the proposed Budget Amendment of $250,000 for 10 more Crown Victoria vehicles to add to the Sheriff�s fleet. This year�s FY 10-11 Sheriff�s Budget included the purchase of 10 Crown Victoria Police Interceptors and with this additional request of 10 more cars, that would bring the total to 20 vehicles. It�s my understanding that the purchase of the 10 cars would mean dipping into the county reserves to pay for the units; this would be equal about 2 - 3 pennies on the property tax rate.

Fuel costs were much more than maintenance costs (see below) yet Commission did not request an analysis of gas expenditures as part evaluating the Sheriff's request.

The Budget Committee considered the Sheriff's request to lease (finance) 19 cars vs. purchasing 10 more police cars. The October 18, 2010 Budget Committee focused on a discussion by Asst. Chief Deputy Jimmie Davis and his maintenance costs for 2006, 2007 and 2008 with data collected through February 2010 and Commissioner Don Miller's numbers and figures about a "Hypothetical Comparison." 

According to the Purchasing Director�s November 15, 2010 paperwork to the Purchasing and Commission, �The purchase of 10 additional vehicles this year for the Sheriff�s Dept would avoid incurring heavy cost next year - savings on vehicle repair of $28,570 and saving on Equipment change of $12,000 for a total of $40,570.�  No consideration was given to saving taxpayer money on increasing fuel costs projected at $5 per gallon by year's end.

 

THEORETICAL SAVINGS

FUEL COSTS & SAFETY CONCERNS - IGNORED

When Commissioners considered the Sheriff's request to buy 10 more Crown Vics, I don't recall a discussion about spiraling fuel costs or the Crown Victoria's safety or safety liability issues.  Numerous lawsuits have been filed throughout the years concerning Crown Victoria safety issues, fires from crashes (high speed) and fuel tank  concerns. On May 15, 2010, "Trooper Patrick Ambroise was killed when his patrol car was struck from behind while he was stopped on the shoulder of the Florida Turnpike, near Okeechobee Road. A vehicle traveling on the turnpike suddenly veered onto the shoulder and struck Trooper Ambroise's 2006 Crown Vic from behind, causing it to burst into flames, and trapping him inside."

CROWN VICTORIA SAFETY & LIABILITY ISSUES

Commission reviewed maintenance costs for 3 years, comparison numbers through Feb. 2010.  But given the current economic climate and local budget crunch and state deficits, why didn't Commission wait to buy new fuel efficient police cars that are advertised to get up to 25 percent better fuel economy than the current Crown Vic?  Loudon County is also in violation of the Clean Air Act for Ozone and Particulate pollution. There was also no discussion by two task force commissioners (Miller and Meers) to recommend purchasing environmentally friendly cars that gave better fuel efficiency given Loudon County's non-attainment (violation of the Clean Air Act - Ozone and particulate) issue. The Sheriff's brother, Dr. Bud Guider is also a member of the task force and I am kind of surprised that he didn't say something publicly about this issue.

Sheriff Tim Guider campaigned on saving taxpayer money and tightening his belt during these hard economic times. While campaigning for re-election, he also claimed to save $250,000, which he later changed to $210,000, less than the (budget) year before.

At a Budget Committee meeting, Budget Committee member Commissioner Harold Duff openly spoke about the Sheriff's comments after he heard  him speak at a TEA PARTY event, which was attended by many including myself. Budget Committee Commissioner Duff questioned the Sheriff's savings claim and a discussion ensued.

Did the Sheriff save $250,000 or $210,000 over the previous budget?

THE HUNTER REPORT examined the Sheriff's Budget using audit numbers from the State of Tennessee Comptroller's website for the period of 2005 through 2009, and budget information distributed to the public for Fiscal Year 2010 (Audit Pending) and 2011 (audit not available until next year).

The Sheriff Department submitted an initial budget request for FY 10-11 of $3,501,301.00 dated March 19, 2010. The initial budget request did not include a request for new cars. The Motor Vehicles line item in the budget was left blank. A letter from the Sheriff's Department was sent to the Finance Office, which said in part..."We are still evaluating our vehicle fleet status and trying to determine the most accurate request in out motor vehicle line in the Sheriff's budget."... "Upon completion of this evaluation I will amend my request if needed."

For the period of 2005 through 2009 using audit numbers, Maintenance costs were $438,581.00 and Gasoline expenses were almost double $823,622.00. Add to that, budget amounts for fiscal years 2010 (Audit pending) and 2011 and that brings the total to $1,323,622.00 for proposed Gas expenditures; $650,500 for Maintenance costs but that does include parts, tires, and insurance costs. Also, if new fuel efficient cars have a potential savings of up to 25 percent, that would equal $50,000 alone.Did the Sheriff�s Budget increase or decrease; savings or more spending?

After I spoke at the Commission meeting about my concerns, fuel costs being double the expense of maintenance costs, only one commissioner bothered to ask Purchasing Director Bradshaw about the gas guzzling Crown Vics. Bradshaw just side stepped the issue!

 

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS 

 

ENDING JUNE 30

A-AUDIT

B-BUDGET

MAINTENANCE

GASOLINE

MOTOR VEHICLES

BUDGET TOTAL

2005

A
58,461

 

116,046

 

  21,000

 

 $2,162,495.00

 

2006

A
91,637

 

151,083

 

 137,763

$2,553,648.00

2007

A
 

95,067

 

156,837

171,056

 

$3,065,716.00

 

2008

A

100,078

227,627

 141,720

 

$3,351,010.00

 

2009

A
 

93,338

 

172,029

 

129,203

 

 

$3,426,221.00

 

2010

 

B

* Budget

 

 

 

101,919      

 *Budget - State Audit Pending

 

250,000

*Budget  - State Audit Pending

0

$3,441,912.00 Sheriff  Budget Request 
$3,491,942.00 **

**State Audit Pending

2011

 

 

B

* Budget

 

 

 

110,000

* Budget Request

 

250,000

* Budget Request

 $250,000 May 7, 2010 Budget Committee votes to recommend 10 new cars

$3,738,817.00

June 7, 2010 Commission approved  10 new cars

$250,000 Nov. 5, 2010  Budget Committee votes to recommend    10 more new cars

$4,015,859.00  December 6, 2010 

Sheriff Budget increased by $250,000 - to come from Fund Balance.

 

TOTAL  

650,500

1,323,622.00 1,100,742.00
 $    1,853,364.00
 Overall Increase from 2005-2011
 
AVERAGE INCREASE       YEARLY 10.53% (EST.)
OVERALL INCREASE        

2005-2011

 

85.70% (EST.)

A-AUDIT NUMBERS OBTAINED FROM THE LOUDON COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE FINANCIAL, STATE OF TENNESSEE COMPTROLLER (WEBSITE).

B-BUDGET NUMBERS OBTAINED FROM THE LOUDON COUNTY BUDGET (AUDITS NOT AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME). 

 

TIMELINE & MY NOTES

March 10, 2010 - Sheriff Tim Guider sends letter to Budget Chairman Mayor Doyle Arp. The Sheriff is evaluating the need for more police vehicles.

March 19, 2010 - Initial Sheriff Budget request $3,501,201.00. Motor Vehicles line left blank in budget document. A letter from the Sheriff's Department was sent to the Finance Office, which said in part..."We are still evaluating our vehicle fleet status and trying to determine the most accurate request in out motor vehicle line in the Sheriff's budget."... "Upon completion of this evaluation I will amend my request if needed."  

April 7, 2010 Budget Committee meeting - Budget Committee inquire as to when Sheriff Guider will attend meeting to discuss the Sheriff's budget and his letter; no date. Budget Committee Commissioner Harold Duff talks about how he heard Sheriff Tim Guider speak at the TEA Party meeting how everywhere he goes the Sheriff Guider campaigns that he has saved taxpayers $250,000 over the previous year budget. But the Budget Committee does not agree. SHERIFF250K.htm

VIDEO BUDGET TALK

Budget Committee discusses Sheriff's budget and claims about savings.

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April 8, 2010 Tellico Village HOA Meet The Candidates Meeting

VIDEO SHERIFF GUIDER

See related story What a Difference a Day Makes

Sheriff speaks about saving taxpayer money $210,000, and tightening belt

May 4, 2010 Primary Election - Sheriff Tim Guider wins re-election. ELECTIONRESULTS05042010.htm

May 6, 2010 Budget Committee meeting - Sheriff's Office faxes a letter to the Finance Director requesting 10 more cars. Click to see Sheriff Letter (May 6, 2010) Fax to Tracy Blair & Budget Committee  (�The purpose of this letter is to inform you and the members of the budget committee of my request and recommendation in the matter of motor vehicle fleet for the sheriff�s office. After careful evaluation, I have determined that 10 (ten) new patrol cars is a fair and effective request to reduce maintenance costs, to improve fuel efficiency and to improve overall safety for the officers and the community. The second purpose of this letter is to request consideration for funding of the TCRS Benefit Improvement Package for Public Safety Officers.)

May 7, 2010 Budget Committee meeting - Sheriff Guider makes a public appearance before the Loudon County Budget Committee and informs them of his request, ten 10 patrol cars was a reasonable request. The Budget Committee votes to recommends 10 police cars at a cost of $250,000.

June 7, 2010 Loudon County Commission approves the FY 10-11 budget with 10 news cars for the Sheriff's Office at a cost of $250,000; budget document $3,738,817.00. One (1) percent bonus for county employees.

September 20, 2010 Budget Committee meeting- Sheriff Dept. Assistant Chief Deputy Jimmie Davis speaks to the Budget Committee about financing through Ford Motor; 19 cars for 3 years, at a payment of $150,000 yearly ($500,000).  Purchasing Director Leo Bradshaw informs Asst. Chief Davis that all proposed leases must go through Purchasing Committee and he has not seen a lease request from the Sheriff's Dept. Bradshaw was surprised because he thought the Sheriff's Dept. was buying 10 cars. Davis replied that its financing not leasing but Bradshaw informs Davis that the Sheriff's Dept must follow the Purchasing Bid process to see if there are other companies that offer the same service because it is over the $10,000 purchasing limit. According to Asst. Deputy Davis the Sheriff wanted to get the information out there to get some opinions. Budget Committee Commissioner Miller explains how he does not have enough information to make a decision and additional information is needed. Don Miler wants to meet with Jimmie Davis so they can put some information together. No action taken - deferred.

October 18, 2010 Budget Committee meeting - Sheriff Assistant Deputy Jimmie Davis spoke about a finance lease package through Ford Motor. The Crown Vic will be discontinued and the Sherriff's Dept. is trying to get as many cars as they can. Two engines were blown 2-3 weeks ago (250,000 miles). Units are stripped of equipment and then turned over to the Purchasing Dept. Safety is also a reason why more vehicles are needed. Maintenance information on Sheriff fleet was distributed; fleet comparison numbers through FEB. 2010. No cars in 2009 because of budget crunch. Jimmie Davis gave a breakdown of age of fleet and maintenance cost for years 2006, 2007 and 2008.  Commissioner Don Miller spoke about meeting with Jimmie Davis and maintenance guy. Miller distributed his hand out to Budget Committee members only. He spoke about buying 9 vehicles going through state bid for a little bit over $24,000 ($24,950 actual state bid amount) for a Crown Vic. According to Miller, Davis and maintenance guy estimated that it would cost about $3,200 to outfit a car with police equipment. With the various components Miller estimated that it would cost an estimated $170,000 per year if leasing and after 3 years the County would own the vehicles with a $1 payment. That's one option but what if the County buys the vehicles; and using a "Hypothetical Comparison" and maintenance costs being the same in both cases. In the "hypothetical" case what if we buy 19 cars right now; what would the cost be? Miller estimated the cost around $520,000 upfront. But the lease cost would be an estimated $170,000 per year or $510,000 over a 3 year period but the maintenance costs would be the same so we looked at the "hypothetical situation" verses the "real world." He gave his various scenarios over the 3 year period (buy vs lease) including disposal of high mileage vehicles, with a maintenance cost of $40,000. Miller recommended that this go before the Purchasing Committee and going with the lease option.  Commissioner Shaver asked would all 19 be marked patrol cars? Davis replied that 17 cars would go for patrol cars and 3 (one for a detective and administrators.)  Davis also spoke about perhaps next year buying one Dodge Charger or new Taurus. Commissioner Sharon Yarbrough asked for the total number of cars in the Sheriff's fleet. No firm number was given but a rough estimate of 50 cars but the maintenance analysis did not include all cars.  Miller commented, I'm assuming that you will not be asking for cars for next year and the year after; Davis replied, only new cars to test out. Budget Chair Mayor Herron asked for a motion and a motion and second was made that this matter go before the Purchasing Committee. Voting AYE: Herron, Yarbrough, Miller, Franke, Shaver. No Abstentions or No votes.

November 15, 2010 Budget Committee meeting - After a lengthy discussion and hearing from Purchasing Director Bradshaw regarding the Purchasing Committee's recommendation, Budget Committee Commissioner Austin Shaver motioned to deny the request but the motion died for a lack of a second. Subsequently, Budget Committee Commissioner Bob Franke motioned to approve $250,000  for 10 cars with a stipulation that cars with the highest mileage get rid of and be turned over to Leo Bradshaw/ Purchasing Dept overseeing it, and road deputies get the new cars. Second by Commissioner Sharon Yarbrough. Voting Aye: Herron, Yarbrough, Miller, Franke. Voting NO: Shaver.  

Purchasing Committee meeting - The Purchasing Committee (Bledsoe, Meers, Harrelson, Duff, Meers) recommends increasing the Sheriff's Budget by $250,000 to purchase 10 additional cars this fiscal year. According to Purchasing Director's paperwork "All orders to Ford Motor must be entered into the system by Feb. 2011 in order to buy a Crown Vic." 

December 6, 2010 Finance Director began by talking about increasing the Sheriff's Budget by $250,000 for 10 additional cars. Budget amendment spreadsheets were distributed prior to the Commission meeting showing the net affect on the Fund Balance. The Budget Committee's recommendation supports the Purchasing Committees recommendation - for the Sheriff's Dept not to enter into a lease agreement with Ford Motor Credit, the Sheriff's Dept Budget is increased by $250,000 to purchase additional cars this fiscal year, the Sheriff's Maintenance Budget for next year (FY 11-12) is decreased by $28,000 and the Sheriff's Budget for next year (FY11-12) not include appropriations for new vehicles. The Budget Committee's added contingency that vehicles with the highest miles are returned to the Purchasing Dept. as surplus, and that new vehicles are utilized by the road deputies and no unmarked cars are purchased.

After everything was said and done, Loudon County Commission voted to buy 10 more new cars at a cost of $250,000 for the Sherriff's Office. In a 9 to 1 vote: YEA: Commissioners: Steve Harrelson, Earlena Maples, Don Miller, Sharon Yarbrough, Harold Duff, Roy Bledsoe, Don Miller, bob Franke, and Brian Jenkins,  and NO: Comm. Austin Shaver. During a Q & A and discussion about the request for 10 new cars, Commissioners learn that the first set of 10 cars were not ordered. According to Purchasing Director Bradshaw, he did not receive a purchasing requisition from the Sheriff's Dept. notifying him of a request for 10 police cars.

December 31, 2010 - 17 new Crown Vic patrol cars parked behind the Loudon County Justice Center, rear fenced off area.

January 21, 2011 - Based on a follow-up request, the Purchasing Dept disclosed: 3 unmarked cars on order for Sheriff Dept. The Sheriff's Dept has turned in seven (7) cars and the Purchasing Dept is awaiting a list of 13 other cars. The list is expected on Monday (Jan 24) when the Purchasing Committee will meet at 3:30 PM at the County Office Building to discuss "Surplus vehicle sale for Sheriff�s department."

 

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