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.