Monday, August 30, 2010

Are taxpayers getting hosed on car washes?

From the Daily News:

New York is on track to spend more than $400,000 this year just to wash its cars.

That includes paying as much as $110 to clean a little Toyota Prius - and $263.25 to clean a GMC Sierra pickup truck.

Is that too much? Nobody seems to know.

Stephen Goldsmith, the deputy mayor trying to save $500 million a year by streamlining how the city runs, is trying to find out.

"I think it's an interesting issue," he said. "What should the car wash policy be?"

The Daily News tracked down more than $280,000 in city spending this year for car washes, using data from Controller John Liu's office.

Two-thirds of that, or $177,000, was for the NYPD's 3,000-vehicle fleet. The next-highest agency, the Department of Transportation, spent around $20,000.

"There are important reasons why having police cars look good is really important. They're a symbol of the city," Goldsmith said.

"I would hope that the police fleet would be cleaner than the rest of the fleet. Now, I have no idea whether that's too much or too few."

There's no standard policy for how often to wash the city's 26,000 vehicles, the largest municipal fleet in the nation. There's no standard rate for how much the city pays, either.

The city's entire $283 million vehicle maintenance budget seems to run the same way, with no standard policy at all.

Nine city agencies operate 125 garages with employees. Other agencies send their vehicles out to private garages for repairs, with no mechanism to keep those costs under control.

At the Brooklyn Truck Wash in East Williamsburg, the DOT regularly pays $236.25 to wash its trucks - even though the price list on the wall says trucks cost $65 and up. No manager was there to answer questions about it.

At Sparkles Car Wash in Flushing, Queens, records show the DOT has paid $110 each to wash cars like Toyota Priuses, Ford Escapes and Ford Tauruses.

General manager Roberto Ebarilli said those must have been heavy detailing jobs, which usually cost $160 and up - but the city gets a break.


Anonymous said...

in a private lot on 40-29 27th street,the Dept. of Transportation has about ten parking spaces which are used by officials for their private cars, as well as city owned vehicles.
most lots charge above $120. per month in this congested area.

one wonders if the taxpayers are footing the bill for the officials private cars?

Anonymous said...

Let's get real. The truth is that if they are spending taxpayers money NO ONE CARES what money they throw down the toilet. They think it's free money. Now that the economy is in a shambles all the garbage is exposed for us to see.

Anonymous said...

How about we make the people driving the cars wash it themselves? Most stations have a hose. Issue some soap and towels and get to work.

Of course, the unions would shiat their collective pants if that was ever proposed, but we can dream...

Anonymous said...

If you are working for the city and are given a take home car, you should be responsible for cleaning it out of your own pocket, since you are already getting free transport and gas money.

As for people who just use theses vehicles during their work hours, such as police officers, it is totally ridiculous to ask them to get a bucket and hose and clean and radio car themselves.

Unknown said...

I thought thats what rookies were for...
All kidding aside, if some perp throws up in the car or worse do you really want cops kept off the street so they can clean out their car? or would you rather the car go out for a pro cleaning?
If they take this away the next set of law suits will be from "innocent" people being arrested and having to sit in someone elses puke.

Anonymous said...

The only thing i ever see cop cars doing at the 104 is blocking sidewalks in front and around the PCT.

I see plenty of idle cars sitting around with plenty of idle 'officers' standing on the steps. Plenty of opportunity to do some cleaning.