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Fiscal Court Tables Vehicle Leasing Deal

File Photo: Kentucky State Seal in the courtroom at Mercer County Fiscal Courthouse.

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

The Mercer County Fiscal Court looked at possibly entering a leasing agreement with Enterprise Fleet Management for county vehicles but held off on making a decision at their meeting on Tuesday, April 12, until several questions had been answered.

Several magistrates questioned a representative from Enterprise, trying to figure out what advantage it would be to the county. Jessi Gross, an account executive with Enterprise, said there would be no over milage charge, no wear and tear and no early termination fee.

“We won’t bother you if the county wants to go a separate way,” Gross said. She said the county would not be responsible for anything unless they take possession of a vehicle.

“It doesn’t mean we have to lease everything,” said Judge-Executive Scott Moseley. He said county-owned vehicles could be placed on the monitoring program. As a city commissioner, Moseley was with the City of Harrodsburg when they entered an agreement with Enterprise.

Gross said, through Enterprise, the county would see a huge decrease in maintenance costs and a huge uptick in resale value on vehicles they sold.

Asked for his opinion, Sheriff Ernie Kelty said he’d spoken with other law enforcement agencies—including the Harrodsburg Police Department—and none of them had anything negative to say about leasing.

Kelty said they had been previously forced to take vehicles they didn’t want because they had missed a window.

“Every year our maintenance goes up,” Sheriff Kelty said. “Over the last 12 years, I’ve seen the maintenance go up every year.”

Gross told the magistrates there was a sense of urgency, because if they miss the windows for new vehicles, which open this month. Even then, Gross said Enterprise wouldn’t be able to deliver anything for a year.
Magistrate Tim Darland said the road department had managed to acquire two vehicles which will be delivered within four months. Darland said the county was still waiting on vehicles ordered last year which have not been delivered.

Gross said she could get the county vehicles sooner, but it would cost more.

“I can get you one today,” she said, “You don’t need to be paying above MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). Those are taxpayer dollars you’re throwing away.”

She said Enterprise is the largest fleet management services provider in the country, and, in addition to the City of Harrodsburg, they work with Harlan County, Anderson County, Union County, Marshall County, Warren County, Boyd County, Bullitt County, Allen County and has recently entered an agreement with Frankfurt.

However, not all the magistrates seemed sold on the idea.

“I’m looking for the advantage of leasing,” said Magistrate Wayne Jackson.

Judge Moseley said the county would be getting new vehicles instead of purchasing used state surplus vehicles. Moseley said the money saved on maintenance costs could be spent on other things.

Speaking hypothetically, Gross said the county could save up to $10,000 on a $50,000 vehicle by selling it at the right time.

“What happens if it goes in the other direction?” Jackson asked.

Gross said that had never happened with Enterprise.

Magistrate Darland said that, as a business owner, leasing vehicles did not make sense to him.

“We never own them,” Darland said. “We’re just constantly paying the payment.”

County Attorney Ted Dean asked about the master lease agreement. Dean said he read something different than what Gross was promising. She said she was happy to connect the county with her corporate office to answer Dean’s questions. The fiscal court tabled making any decision until Dean’s questions were answered.

For the rest of the story, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald. Click here to subscribe.

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