ESCANABA - A representative from the Ohio-based First Vehicle Services company presented the company's proposal for a potential joint venture for vehicle maintenance in Delta County. The information was shared with board members at the Delta County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.
Dale Domish, senior vice president for First Vehicle Services, which specializes in fleet maintenance services, spoke to the board about First Vehicle Services and its potential benefit to many local agencies for vehicle maintenance.
According to its website, First Vehicle Services is North America's leading provider of diverse fleet maintenance services providing "efficient and cost-effective fleet management and maintenance services at governmental, municipal, petrochemical, transportation and private facilities" throughout the U.S.
So far, the Delta County Road Commission has shown an interest in the possibility of a joint venture for vehicle maintenance, as well as the county for maintenance to county vehicles - such as police cars.
"This particular contract here would be a time and material contract," explained Domish, of the proposal. "You would only pay for the hours that we're actually working on your vehicle, and hopefully we'll have some other partners in this as well."
Domish cited the cities of Gladstone and Escanaba, as well as local school districts, and the Delta Transit Authority as some potential groups this joint venture could also include.
"The more municipalities that actually participate in this opportunity, the lower the price would be for everybody," he explained. "So it's really important that we try to get as many communities on board as we can."
Domish said First Vehicle Services' proposal would utilize the Delta County Road Commission's facility to house its services, due to the amount of space the commission has available.
"They have a very nice facility there that's more than adequate to handle the road commission and county vehicles and some municipalities, as well," he said. "It's a very large facility, so there's plenty of space there." The proposal would also include having at least one repair unit that could do maintenance out in the field to attend to repairs needed on vehicles that cannot easily be brought back to the shop. The company proposed hiring seven employees for vehicle maintenance.
"We've proposed at least seven local employees," he said. "I think right now the road commission has four, Escanaba has two, Gladstone has one-and-one-half. You put it all together, you're more efficient."
Domish noted that it takes awhile for people to become comfortable with privatization of services, but that this solution would be a cost-saving measure. "This process of outsourcing your fleet management or any other type of privatization takes a long time for people to feel comfortable," he said. "There's employees you have to consider, but in the end there's also that cost savings to your taxpayers that you have to consider, as well."
He stressed that although First Vehicle Services is a national company, it is also very "local" in what it does and is committed to the communities it serves.
Board Chairman Tom Elegeert noted that this maintenance facility would benefit police vehicles, for instance, which need to be properly inspected to ensure they are safe and ready for potential high speeds they may encounter. He said when bringing them in currently to get oil changes, for example, the cars are not getting inspected to that extent.
Domish said this is an area where the company excels, since they manage more than 10,000 law enforcement units in the U.S.
In other business, the board:
heard a presentation from Brett French of the American Transmission Company. French briefly discussed ATC's proposed Bay Lake transmission project, which would run through part of Delta County and is aimed to reinforce the electric transmission grid and respond to potential reliability concerns, generation changes, and changes in demand.
approved increasing the pay rate for part-time road patrol officers from $14 an hour to $16.50 per hour after three months of employment, at the request of the personnel committee. According to Commissioner Mary Harrington, who serves on the committee, the former pay rate was one issue making it difficult to keep part-time patrol officers. She acknowledged this amount is still below what full-time officers make, but is hoping the higher pay rate will alleviate any retention problems.