Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 22, 2012

Replacement fund killers

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Before the Measure C election, there was some talk about the vehicle replacement fund because opponents suggested that Measure C was unnecessary because the City already had this vehicle replacement fund as though it was some magical pot of money that generated millions and millions of dollars each year that could be used to purchase — not just lease — super expensive vehicles when necessary.

Here’s what is current in the Vehicle Replacement Fund from this year’s budget:

So I asked Assistant City Manager Lisa Goldman, because aside from Fred Marsh, she is definitely the expert on all things budget-y on how the the vehicle replacement fund is actually “filled” and how the rate is determined, this was her response:

The annual charges to each department for vehicle replacement are based upon

a. The number of vehicles actively in use by each department
a. The individual cost of each vehicle in use by the department
b. The estimated useful life of each vehicle

The cost of the vehicle is divided by its useful life to come up with an annual charge for each vehicle. The department’s charge is the sum of these charges for all of their vehicles, subject to the availability of funds in the General Fund and other funds for the annual funding of vehicle replacement. The charge is included in each department’s expenditure budget as a cost allocation expense. The funds are accumulated in the City’s equipment replacement fund until such time that the vehicle needs to be replaced.

While the Vehicle Replacement Fund is a good tool to have, but given the cost to purchase a standard fire engine costs about the same as a small house in Alameda and patrol cars aren’t that cheap either, this fund needs to be used judiciously.



  1. Re, Internal Service Funds: Portable radios

    Communications, our commitment is to provide top quality, economically priced two-way radios. This commitment has made Kenwood the top choice for American business. Kenwood has been a world leader in electronics and technology for more than 50 years, leading the world in innovative communications equipment. Most Kenwood radios, besides being designed for ease of use and reliability, meet tough U.S. military standards for durability and performance in difficult conditions.

    TK-2140 TK-3140
    Vhf / Uhf Trunking / Conventional Ultra Compact Two Way Portable Radios SALE PRICE $621.00

    $617,400 divided by 621 (cost of each radio) equals 994 Portable radios

    Alameda had 200 employees in 2010

    994 radios divided by 200 equals 4.97 radios per city employee

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 22, 2012 @ 9:35 am

    • I believe the portable radio purchase may have something to do with the East Bay Regional Communication System Authority and Alameda’s alignment with the new system.

      I have an email out to City staff for clarification, but if it is part of the regional communication system then you’ll need to google prices for Motorola products and not Kenwood.

      Comment by Lauren Do — August 22, 2012 @ 10:40 am

  2. Do you know for a fact that all the portable radios purchased were the kenwood model you listed or were you basing your entire argument on an assumed premise?

    Comment by notadave — August 22, 2012 @ 9:53 am

  3. 2
    Nah, I have no idea what kind of radios they purchased. I just took the high average from a police supply place.

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 22, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

  4. “While the Vehicle Replacement Fund is a good tool to have, but given the cost to purchase a standard fire engine costs about the same as a small house in Alameda and patrol cars aren’t that cheap either, this fund needs to be used judiciously”

    The Average Firefighter in Alameda will retire with the Equivalent of 5- 7 Houses Fully paid for and be able to retire between 50-55.After recieving double the Average Pay of a Federal Firefighter while working for City.

    The Captains and above recieve the Equivalent of 10-12 Houses fully paid for upon retirement all financed by the Citizens of Alameda. It’s Like buying them a house or a fire truck every other year.

    I guess we don’t need to watch the funds for this….

    These aren’t that cheap either, this fund needs to be used judiciously or we won’t be able to buy all these houses.

    Comment by John — August 22, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  5. The COA is part of Alameda County Regional Emergency Communication Center “ACRECC” which provides fire department and EMS dispatch services for all fire agencies within Alameda County, minus Oakland Fire, Albany Fire, & Berkeley Fire. Also inclusive in dispatch services is Paramedic Plus, the Alameda County for profit contract provider for ALS ambulance transport. Within that, this includes system wide operability with all agencies that are part of the contract services. The radios used are Motorla digital 800mhz., mobile & portable radios which were supported by a narrow slope grant that limited the purchase abilities. It also includes communications with each fire apparatus, & county wide ambulance via interfaced MDT, Mobile Data Terminals (computers in each vehicle). Sending pertinent detailed call information saves time and lives. It also also dispatchers to see system wide resource location, closet unit dispatch and the ability to communicate via non-verbal in times of radio failure or civil disturbances when people with ska need listen to follow and protest. Dispatchers will transmit messages and situational updates via satellite linked text messages.

    Comment by Pat Berton — August 22, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  6. All radios are also P25 comiant, the FCC newest stranglehold on communications. Narrowing the bandwidth to compress more into less digital spectrum

    Comment by Pat Berton — August 22, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

  7. OMG John, can you finally find something new to complain about rather than cut & paste the same things everyday. It’s old and boring. Try something new, maybe the crap cable debacle or the Alameda Point redevolpment that doesn’t seem to be happening

    Comment by Pat Berton — August 22, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  8. Maybe do something about your passionate mission John, run for council & try to make the changes you seem to want…

    Comment by Pat Berton — August 22, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  9. Pat I was just trying to make sure we have enough money to pay for all these houses were committed to. Reading Lauren’s piece it seems like we have a few more obstacles in the Replacement Fund.

    Making a comment about it and using same analogy as Lauren I guess it is not OK .

    Comment by John — August 22, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  10. Re. Pat’s #8: OMG Pat, number 6 sounds kinda cutty and pastey itself except you misspelled Motorola. So who got the contract for the new and improved narrow slope granted portable Motorola devices? Also, if the city received a grant to purchase the new ones, what was the $617K+ in the budget for? And what did they do with the old radios?

    Comment by Jack Richard — August 22, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  11. My spelling problems are from that darn auto correct that seem to get me in trouble when the system tries to interpret what I’m spelling and makes corrections that I don’t catch. The grant is not a 100% coverage, there is some sort of fund match required, then of course the Alameda County Radio has the proprietary lock on programming each and individual radio at an additional cost per radio. Anytime any organization wants or needs to reprogram channel line up or banding groups there is an additional charge. Ongoing software maintenance & upgrades are additional charges, just to mention a few costs. Repair and replacement of broken antennas, repeaters, etc. routine maintenance is a cost as well.

    Comment by Pat Berton — August 22, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  12. As far as old radios, that’s a question I don’t know the answer too, so I won’t speculate. It’s a good question though, I’d be curious to know also.

    Comment by Pat Berton — August 22, 2012 @ 6:35 pm

  13. I love armchair politics…

    Comment by yippers — August 23, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

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