Galveston County commissioners heard a presentation on possibly leasing vehicles in the future rather than purchasing them, which officials with the county said could save north of $10 million over a five-year period.

What you need to know

Due to vehicles increasing in cost in recent years, county officials are looking for ways to help keep up with replacing vehicles in their fleet without further driving up budget expenses.

However, as it stands, the county is falling behind in keeping up with those purchases, prompting officials to look for new ways to obtain those vehicles, Galveston County Road Administrator Lee Crowder said at the Jan. 22 Commissioners Court meeting.

Leasing vehicles instead of purchasing them over a five-year period to replace just under 400 vehicles would save the county about $10.3 million, according to county documents.

Diving in deeper

Currently, the county has a policy that requires officials to replace vehicles with newly purchased ones. This is a policy that over time has put the county “well behind” keeping up with its fleet, Crowder said.

In fiscal year 2023-24, the county expects to spend about $2.9 million to purchase 41 vehicles, according to the county’s budget. At this rate, the county is on close to a 10-year cycle to replace their fleet. However, the county should be purchasing north of 70 vehicles each year, as policy calls for a five-year cycle, Crowder said.

The increasing costs of vehicles without increasing the county’s budget will put the county further behind on vehicle replacement, Crowder said.

County commissioners asked about details for leasing them, including how the plan would be rolled out. Crowder said it would be gradual and take about five years to roll out.

Quote of note

“The cost of vehicles continues to escalate and go up,” Crowder said. “There’s no foreseen change in that. ... Our pool is becoming more and more limited in who wants to sell to the county.”