Emergency vehicles: Doing more with less taxpayer money

| 14 Mar 2022 | 04:49

To the Editor:

With gas prices doubling in only a year and a half, it’s time for local and state governments to act upon “We need to do more with less.” One way to implement doing more with less is to reassess the use of public vehicles.

Nationally, there are countless stories of public sector department heads abusing taxpayer funds by giving take home cars to employees. The most common justification is labeling these vehicles “emergency vehicles.” The explanation is that the employee is on call through the night and should an emergency happen that employee can respond immediately.

Fortunately for some towns and counties there are honest mayors and county commissioners who saw through this ploy and started keeping records of how many times these “emergency vehicles” went out at night, and came to the conclusion that the recipients of the vehicles weren’t responding to enough emergencies to justify the added costs, it was just a costly perk in disguise.

If Sussex County’s mayors and county commissioners aren’t keeping track of how often emergency vehicles respond at night, they need to do so. Our 911 center, I assume, can supply them with that history. If the only reason a vehicle is being taken home at night is because it has flashing lights, that’s a weak excuse. If our volunteer firemen and EMTs can respond to nighttime emergencies with a flashing light on their own vehicle, then public employees can do the same, saving taxpayers thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars yearly.

Tri Tristram