At least for this year, it looks as though the four-cylinder has won out over the hybrid when it comes to Columbia County government vehicles.
At a Monday Management and Financial Services Committee meeting, board members were told that it would be cheaper in the coming year to use a four-cylinder Ford Escape to replace a county vehicle instead of a hybrid version.
Commissioners were told that a four-cylinder Escape would cost about $10,000 less than a hybrid and would still get pretty good gas mileage.
"The technology is so new we'd really like another year or two (before possibly purchasing a hybrid),'' County Fleet Services Manager Clayton Galloway said, adding that the cost of hybrids might decrease in the years to come as demand increases.
The discussion about hybrids and four-cylinders comes as county officials are looking to reduce their large truck fleet because of increasing fuel costs.
Commissioners agreed Monday with the assessment made by Galloway and forwarded the Escape recommendation on to the full board of commissioners, which will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Evans Government Complex.
"I have to agree with you on the hybrids,'' Commissioner Diane Ford said.
"The technology is still new ... I don't know if right now we need to be the guinea pig.''
Also at Monday morning's meeting, board members approved a new mileage amount for government workers based on an Internal Revenue Service guideline.
The IRS mileage amount had been 48.5 cents per mile. But county Finance Director Leanne DeLoach said that figure has been revised for this year to 44.5 cents.
Committee members agreed with the 44.5 cents per mile amount for county workers for the next year.
Another development Monday was a change in the time and location of the Public Works Committee and Management and Financial Services Committee meetings.
Previously, the meetings had been held at 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., respectively, in a back conference room of the Evans Government Complex.
Those two committees will meet next at 8 and 9 a.m. Feb. 13 in the complex auditorium.
The county's Planning and Engineering Services Committee and Community and Emergency Services Committee will meet next at 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. Jan. 23.
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