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Fleet Disposition & Disposal

The highest driver of all fleet - shop - parts - fuel department costs is the number of vehicle / equipment assets in the fleet. In general, most fleets can eliminate 70% of the 30% to 40% of excess fleet capacity" or 21% to 28% of the total fleet (70% x 30% = 21% to 70% x 40% = 28%). Therefore, reducing "excess fleet capacity" or the number of fleet assets has the greatest impact on reducing total costs. Reducing the number of fleet assets also has a cost reduction effect because older fleet assets which consume more parts and labor are disposed of.

Declaration of Surplus

Once the targeted replacement cycles have been realized, the replaced vehicle is evaluated for the motor pool, re-assigned to another department as a "low usage" vehicle, or declared surplus and sold at auction or another approved disposal method.

When the Transportation Division, in conjunction with the user department, has determined that vehicle(s) and/or equipment are no longer required to accomplish organizational goals, or if a vehicle has been damaged to the point that it is not cost effective to expend additional County funds to repair, or if a vehicle is to be replaced, the Division will declare the vehicle(s) as surplus property. Vehicles and equipment that are identified as excess are not eligible for replacement.

Similarly, the Commissioners of St. Mary's County must approve the acceptance of vehicles and equipment from donating agencies outside of County Government (i.e., Health Department, Metcom, etc.) following an inspection and recommendation from the Transportation Division, a fiscal impact evaluation for repair / maintenance / insurance / title and tag costs and a determination that it meets an identified need for the receiving department or agency within St. Mary's County Government. Once a declaration of surplus property has been determined and the Board agrees to accept the property (vehicle or equipment), a Surplus Property Declaration and Utilization Form will be executed.

Transportation does not endorse any department policy that leads to the "cannibalization" of motor vehicles without a prior vehicle inspection by the Transportation Division. Under no circumstances are department heads authorized, nor are they to allow employees under their supervision, to stockpile, impound, remove, or transfer automotive parts or specialty equipment from vehicles identified as surplus, without the express written authorization from the Transportation Manager, based on recommendations from the Transportation Supervisor and Shop Foreman.

Re-Assignment & Disposal Procedures

Once physical custody of the motor vehicle/equipment has been assumed by Transportation, a semi-annual evaluation of the motor vehicle's operational efficiency will be completed and the annual fleet listing updated.

If a vehicle/equipment evaluation determines that the vehicle is unfit for re-integration into the County's motor vehicle/equipment fleet, or that the vehicle no longer satisfies the agency/departmental needs, the DPW&T Transportation Division will initiate the necessary actions to dispose of the vehicle / equipment. The vehicle may also be re-assigned, transferred, or re-purposed ("right sizing").

If the motor vehicle/equipment evaluation determines that it is cost effective to repair, refurbish and / or overhaul the vehicle/equipment, the Transportation Division will undertake this action.

Vehicles and equipment will be evaluated to determine the most cost efficient method of disposal either through pre-announced public auction, sealed bid, through a scrap metal § vendor, or salvage sale (wrecked vehicle or junk sale)

If the vehicle was involved in an accident in which the insurance company of the driver of a non-County vehicle pays for the accident, the Department provides this information on the declaration to the County's Risk Manager.

If a vehicle is to be sold and is not in operating condition, it may be sold "as is, where is." Towing costs to the auction site, if any, removal of decals, fleet #'s, cleaning, etc. will be deducted from the gross sale price.

The Transportation Division may register to sell surplus vehicles / equipment directly on Public Surplus at, utilize electronic / web-based auctions, or contract directly with a vendor to provide auction services, unless a solicitation is required per the County's Manual of Procurement Regulations and Procedures.

A "minimum bid amount" or "reserve" should be established to ensure the net sale price after auction is in equal or in excess of the established scrap metal salvage value. Scrap metal salvage value will be annually re-assessed, but currently is calculated by using the gross vehicle weight shown on the vehicle title and multiplying by $60 / ton.

If the vehicle is considered a total loss, the Division may contract directly with a County authorized scrap metal vendor and is considered a "salvage sale".

As a general rule, all heavy and specialized equipment shall be sold thru a pre-announced public auction.

With the exception of STS Transit buses, all net proceeds shall be deposited into a General Fund Revenue account approved by the Finance Department.

Vehicles may be considered for transfer from one department to another when the useful life of the vehicle can be extended and the vehicle is suitable for the receiving department.

Any fees charged for disposing of a vehicle or piece of equipment at auction will be paid directly to the auctioneer or deducted from the proceeds owed to the County following the sale.

Vehicles may be recommended for donation to non-profit entities or other County entities for educational purposes, practical training exercises, course curriculum uses (e.g. Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center) on a case-by-case basis as approved by the Commissioners of St. Mary's County to include the "Vehicles for Change" program.

Any declaration of surplus property that is donated or vehicle eligible for "pass down" must complete a Surplus Property Declaration and Transfer Form . Donations to private individuals, county employees or for profit organizations are prohibited.

"Pass Down" Policy

A basic principle of fleet management is to control fleet size. However, situations arise where a vehicle or piece of equipment that is no longer suitable for its needs, but the unit may have useful remaining life. In such cases, another Department within the organization may want to obtain the unit that is available for "pass down." To avoid the potential opportunity for "fleet creep"; when a "pass-down" vehicle becomes available, the receiving Department should answer certain questions before authorization of the "pass down":

  1. Did the pass-down unit become available because a new unit replaced it? If the answer is "yes," then the pass-down unit is excess inventory until it, or another unit, is removed from the fleet. If the answer is "no," then you can assume that the original, "owning" group no longer needed the pass-down unit, so removal of a unit from the fleet is not required.
  2. Does the pass-down unit actually have useful life remaining? To answer this question, you will want to apply guidelines (already developed or requiring development) for retention and transfer of a pass-down unit. Here's a hypothetical example: The pass-down unit must have at least 25% of its estimated life remaining in terms of mileage or hours. For example, a passenger vehicle with a recommended life of 6 years and/or 72,000 miles should not be passed down if its mileage exceeds 54,000 miles (75% of 72,000).
  3. As a rule of thumb, pass down of units for which age is greater than or equal to the estimated life in terms of time should be disallowed. Thus, the passenger vehicle in the above example could not be passed down if it were six years old, or older, regardless of the mileage on the vehicle.
  4. Is repair or refurbishing required for the pass-down unit to be useful? If yes, then apply guidelines (already developed or needing to be developed) regarding repair and refurbish expenditures (and dispose of vehicles exceeding the guidelines). The establishment of these or similar policies helps prevent the development of an "old" fleet. An old fleet is one that has too many units requiring high maintenance, and such units will quite likely have low utilization.

Seized/Forfeited Vehicles

Vehicles in this category have been seized by or forfeited to the Government in connection with a criminal or civil court proceeding. While this source may offer a variety of sizes and models, these vehicles would normally be limited to those suitable for undercover law enforcement assignment. Keep in mind that, in some instances, the vehicles may have outstanding liens on them.