Breckenridge Texan

County Commissioners approve lease of three new Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicles
August 18
10:09 2017

Stephens County commissioners voted Monday to move forward with leasing three new patrol vehicles to start upgrading the sheriff’s department’s aging fleet. The lease program is a departure from the past, when the county purchased the vehicles outright.

During their meeting, Billy Hughes, a leasing officer with American National Leasing Company based in Wichita Falls, gave commissioners an overview of how the company’s law enforcement vehicle leasing program works. He said it would save the county money and provide them with a newer fleet of vehicles.

Hughes said his company adapted the basic vehicle leasing concept and created a law enforcement lease package.
He said their lease program is based on a typical county sheriff’s department patrol vehicle, which averages between 30,000 or 40,000 miles per year. He said that at the end of the three-year lease they look at the condition and mileage of the vehicle and determine its residual value using three different sources.

Then, he said, they average the three values together and back off the value of a little because they are a conservative bank. For trucks like the sheriff department uses, he said they use a $10,000 value. If it comes back damaged or with more miles, it will be worth less.

“We’re saying if that truck shows up and has between 90,000 and 120,000 miles, it should be at least $10,000 in value,” Hughes said. “What we typically have is those come back and we get (a higher value). We haven’t had any come back less.”

Hughes said the vehicles are ordered and equipped with whatever equipment the sheriff tells them he needs; then they are delivered to the county for use. At the end of the three-year lease, the county can order the next round of vehicles if they choose, and when the new vehicles arrive, the old vehicles are turned in. He said they then get the bids for the vehicles that are turned in.

He said if you continue to lease the same type of vehicle, one of the advantages is that much of the equipment from the old vehicles being turned in can be transferred to the new vehicle, which saves money.

Another advantage, he said, is there is no payment due until a year after the delivery date of the vehicle. For example, he said if vehicle is ordered in October, when the county’s budget is approved, and it takes until January or February to be built and delivered, the first payment won’t be due until one year later from that delivery date. However, in response to a question by County Judge Gary Fuller, Hughes said if the county wanted to, they could make a down payment when they make the order and save a little money.

He also said by limiting the vehicles to a three-year lease, any major repairs, like transmission work, would be covered by each vehicle’s warranty during the entire length of the lease.

If the county decides it wants to keep any of the vehicles at the end of the lease, they have the option to purchase them for the residual value.

According to Hughes, there are 20 counties using their lease program, including Callahan, Eastland, Young, Archer and Throckmorton.

Stephens County Sheriff Will Holt said he’s looking at purchasing Chevy trucks because there is a Chevrolet dealership in Breckenridge.

“We have a Chevy dealership here, anything the local repair shops couldn’t do, we have a Chevy dealership here,” he said.

Holt said he is leaning toward getting the trucks through the lease program because replacing the aging trucks will not only save on maintenance but also will help boost the morale of employees.

“These are their offices on four wheels,” he said. “Nobody likes having to patrol a big county on something that’s four or five years old. On a regular vehicle, that’s not that big a deal, but on these vehicles, we put so much wear and tear on dirt roads and the amount of miles we put on them, I think it’s the direction to go.”

And he said that when it comes to maintenance, a lot of times they have to take their Ford trucks to the Ford dealership in Eastland.

“We’re not keeping that money in county; we’re having to go down there.” Holt said. “A lot of our maintenance is done around here, but on some of those big things, we have to go to the Ford dealership.”

Holt said the department is looking at leasing Chevy Crew Cabs, two-wheel drive pickups through program. The vehicles cost about $38,600 per vehicle if they are purchased outright. However, Hughes said there would be considerable saving through the leasing program.

According to Hughes, if the vehicles were purchased outright, the County would have to pay roughly $115,500 on delivery. Under the leasing program, they wouldn’t have any payments due until one year after delivery of the trucks. After that, they would make one payment annually of around $31,000. Then at the end of the lease, they would receive residual payment of around $30,000.

Additionally Hughes said he would help find bids for the old trucks the sheriff department will be replacing. He said any money raised from those sales could be applied to the costs of the new trucks.
The trucks will be delivered sometime between December and February.

Story by Tony Pilkington

Cutline: Billy Hughes, a leasing officer for American National Leasing Company, addresses commissioners during Monday’s County Commissioners Court meeting at the Stephens County Court House. Commissioners agreed to purchase three new sheriff’s department patrol pickup trucks through his company’s leasing program. The trucks are expected to arrive in Breckenridge in January or February. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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