Waste Watch: Taxpayer-Funded Take-Home Cars Used by City Employees
Updated: Wednesday, June 25 2014, 06:30 PM EDT
WASTE WATCH -- A FOX45 Waste Watch investigation reveals 260 city employees have take-home cars, paid for at the taxpayer's expense. Now some top-level officials are calling for that "perk" come to an end.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has formed the "Car Freeze Committee," to look into the extravagant cost of the program. Currently 28 city workers have take-home cars. Taxpayers even pay for their gas -- and that number doesn't include police and firefighters, who have the same perk.
In 2013 City Councilman Bill Cole sought to curtail the exodus of city-funded cars out of the state after a FOX45 investigation. At the time Cole said, "I think it's asking the taxpayers of Baltimore too much to pay for somebody to drive to York, PA or Dover, DE."
But reform stalled, until now.
On Wednesday the Mayor's office announced the creation of a special task force to look for ways to cut back on the free rides. The "Car Freeze Committee" has been tasked with creating new rules designed to limit the use of take home vehicles based on state regulations.
The Mayor's spokesman Kevin Harris says the cars are simply unaffordable. Particularly for agencies like the police department which are regularly over budget.
"You think about the wear and tear being put on city vehicles because of those long commutes that costs taxpayers money, and that's not fair," Harris said.
The city has already eliminated 17 "take home cars" simply by implementing current laws on the books. Additional restrictions would need to be approved by the City Council.
Each take home vehicle costs the city taxpayers at least $2,000 a year, but depending on how far the employee lives it cost a lot more, just in gas alone.