Commissioners consider fleet proposal, honor First State Bank of Burnet

Lew K. Cohn/Burnet Bulletin

A Texas Treasure: The Burnet County Commissioners Court recognized First State Bank of Burnet and president Cary Johnson (fourth from left) after the Texas Historical Commission named the 109-year-old bank — the only bank chartered in Burnet County — a Texas Treasure Business. Presenting the award at Tuesday’s court meeting were, from left, Precinct 2 Commissioner Russell Graeter, Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther Jr., Burnet County Historical Commission chair JoAnn Myers, Johnson, County Judge James Oakley, BCHC member Clara Goble, Precinct 3 Commissioner Billy Wall and Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery. In addition to thanking the BCHC for nominating the bank, Johnson entertained the crowd in the courtroom with a story about the only man who ever robbed First State Bank of Burnet (and did so three times).

By Lew K. Cohn
Managing Editor

The Highlander

A proposal by Enterprise Fleet Management Inc. to manage Burnet County's fleet of patrol vehicles and light-duty trucks presents “an intriguing concept to reduce costs and update our fleet,” Burnet County Judge James Oakley said.

Kirby Watson, a senior fleet consultant with Enterprise Fleet Management, made the presentation to the Burnet County Commissioners Court at the regular meeting Tuesday, July 25. Watson said Enterprise, the largest vehicle operator in the world with nearly 1.9 million vehicles in use, can help the county achieve savings through leasing vehicles on a shorter term.

“We propose the best time to change out and get rid of your vehicles is while they still have resale value,” Watson said. “Right now, it takes the county about 11 years to replace its entire fleet based on your current cycle. What we are proposing is to identify the vehicles that need to be replaced and speed up your replacement cycle to five years, reducing your cash flow out over the course of that time.

“This cycle will sustain itself within a few years and you can see savings of $100,000 over a 10-year period without including resale value of the vehicles and up to $400,000 during that same time if you add in the resale value of the vehicles you are replacing.”

Watson said the county will lease vehicles for up to a five-year period on an open-ended lease until the end of term. The county can either write a check for the reduced-book balance to Enterprise to own the vehicle outright or have Enterprise sell the vehicle at fair market value. Anything over reduced-book balance is returned to the county. Any equity generated from the sold vehicle would be put back into fleet equity and would knock down the cost of future leased vehicles.

For example, if Burnet County leases a $30,000 vehicle from Enterprise for five years, it would owe pay $5,000 per year until it owed just $5,000 on the vehicle after five years. If Enterprise sold the vehicle for an estimated value of $15,000, it would generate $10,000 in fleet equity for the county, so its next vehicle would have a lease price of $10,000 less.

Best of all for the county, the lease with Enterprise Fleet Services does not have any mileage restrictions, chargeable wear and tear or early exit fees, Watson said. Maintenance can continued to be outsourced as Burnet County currently handles it, with all vehicle maintenance (except tires) covered by Enterprise through its contract with the county.

A number of other governmental entities are already using Enterprise Fleet Services, including the City of Fredericksburg, Gillespie County, City of San Marcos, Hays County, the City of Beaumont, Harris County, the City of Waxahachie, Lubbock ISD and Texas Tech University, Watson said.

Oakley said the county does not have to enter into an agreement just yet with Enterprise as it will not impact the 2017-18 budget currently being worked on by commissioners. The county will budget money for vehicle replacement as usual but can decide the method of that vehicle replacement after the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

In other action Tuesday, the court discussed the proposed budget calendar for fiscal year 2017-18 with County Auditor Karen Hardin.

Hardin told commissioners the county will propose its budget at the Aug. 8 regular court meeting with notices published in the Aug. 11 edition of The Highlander. The first budget public hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Aug. 22 (also a regular court meeting) with a second hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 29 if necessary.

The commissioners will adopt the 2017-18 budget and tax rate at their Sept. 12 regular meeting and the new budget and tax rate take effect Oct. 1.

Commissioners also approved a lease of 2.1 acres of county property fronting Texas 29 in Burnet to Lone Star Land Partners for $1,000 per month for one year with an option to extend the lease by a year.

The land in question was recently purchased by Burnet County and is undeveloped at this time. It is located across Texas 29 from the law enforcement center.

Lone Star Land Partners is developing a new subdivision on County Road 250 and would use the site to construct a temporary office while the subdivision is being built. Lone Star Land Partners will be responsible for all water and sewer hookups to the property and would be required to have the entrance and exit to the property be off CR 250, not Texas 29, Oakley said. They would also be responsible for any maintenance and upkeep to the property.

Any water and sewer connections on the property would remain there when the lease ends, which would assist the county in developing the parcel of land, making it a “win-win,” Oakley added.

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