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CAROL WILSON, Capistrano Beach
In response to Steve Stewart’s letter to the editor in the Dec. 8-14 edition of the Dana Point Times in regards to leasing cars, I find it shocking that for 64 employees, the city is paying for 34 vehicles—nine of which are used for police services—and 13 car allowances. That equates to 62 percent of staff having access to a vehicle or car allowance. Of the city vehicles currently owned, 14 vehicles are driven less than 5,000 miles per year. Our new lease agreement approves a new lease every five years regardless of mileage, and that is just irresponsible. One may be led to ask, if nine of these vehicles are used for police services, why aren’t they under the Orange County Sheriff’s Department contract?
I was really hoping we could count on our new city manager to take a proactive approach to get budget issues under control and build up our seriously depleted city reserves. How will it be in a year or two when city employees lose their jobs because we couldn’t cut the easy things? Or will services to Dana Point residents be cut? I sincerely hope that our city will reevaluate how many vehicles we have and if some could be shared, or if entering into a long-term lease is really the best thing for the city. This is year-end and there are great deals to be had, whether they lease or buy. Could we have leased those directly for less money?
It was quite interesting at the December Council meeting how a few Council members spent 25 minutes debating if Council member Lewis’s addition to previous Council minutes should be allowed or not. Then, the minute leasing came up and a motion was made to accept it without any prior discussion. Dana Point is starting to look a lot like DC.