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City slices fleet spending

One of the biggest cuts in Evanston's proposed budget is a 15 percent reduction in the fleet services fund — the pool of money used to buy, fuel and repair city-owned cars and trucks.

Pat Casey, the city's management services director, is taking over the fleet services job from the facilities management department, which is being eliminated in the city manager's departmental reorganization.

Mr. Casey told aldermen at Saturday's budget workshop that he decided "to take a year off from buying a lot of equipment and re-evaluate the city's purchasing practices."

"We were spending about $2 million a year on purchasing new vehicles," he said, and will spend about half that this year.

But because gasoline prices have increased, the net reduction in spending is only about $700,000.

Mr. Casey said the city has based decisions on replacing vehicles largely on mileage and hours of operation, but he wants to look more closely at repair costs.

"As you know there are lemons out there," he said, "We want to get rid of the lemons and hang onto the ones that are costing us less to operate. We haven't figured out the formula for that yet, but this is where we're headed."

Aldermen have recently raised concerns about huge repair bills for some city vehicles.

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