The Hermiston City Council voted Monday to contract with Enterprise Fleet Management to manage its fleet of vehicles.

City Manager Byron Smith said in the past the city has managed its own vehicles for departments such as water and streets, but by leasing vehicles through Enterprise (a sister company to the Enterprise car rental business), the city should save money. The company can negotiate directly with manufacturers for a better price, he said, and knows the optimum time to sell vehicles. It can also keep track of needed maintenance and let the city know when it has a “lemon” that it would be better to get rid of than continue to maintain.

Smith said the city would start by leasing four vehicles for $35,000.

Councilor John Kirwan said he had worked with a similar company in his line of work and while he had seen a few problems when people weren’t specific enough in their requests for vehicles, overall he thought there were advantages to contracting with a management company.

On Monday the council amended its ordinance to allow commercial and residential driveways of up to 36 feet wide. The city had previously allowed 20 feet for residential driveways and 25 feet for commercial driveways, but city planner Clint Spencer said now that most new houses feature a three-car garage the city is constantly granting exemptions.

The council also voted to annex a quarter-acre property on Theater Lane into the city, and co-adopted a Umatilla County amendment to allow the city to place a municipal water tower in the “future urban” zone.

City recorder Lilly Alarcon-Strong was recognized for her work in becoming a certified municipal clerk through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. Smith said Alarcon-Strong had gone through more than 120 hours of training to receive the designation, and she had helped the city improve in all areas the training covered, including public records handling and compliance with public notice laws.

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