Starke County Council Sets County Vehicle Maintenance Rate

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Council reluctantly set a labor rate of $18.50 per hour for work on county-owned vehicles by mechanics at the highway garage. That’s the journeyman mechanic’s hourly rate.

Highway superintendent Rik Ritzler was told recently by the state that the county cannot use funds in the Motor Vehicle Highway account for non-departmental expenses. Council members agree the rate is considerably cheaper than a dealership or certified mechanic would charge for routine maintenance to patrol cars and EMS vehicles but are still concerned about where the money will come from in departmental budgets.

The council will incorporate funds into next year’s spending plans and move money around as necessary until then. Ritzler is also going to talk to officials at the SCILL Center about having their students help with preventive maintenance like oil changes when school is in session. He also plans to look into the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals for the sheriff’s department vehicles to see if oil changes have to be done every 3,000 miles.