ATHENS, OHIO – A discussion on how to “green up” the city of Athens — starting with its vehicle fleet — may lead to a new policy determining what vehicles the city purchases and how that is done. Councilman Elahu Gosney, who has raised objections to vehicle purchases for the Athens Police Department recently, presented information to Athens City Council  aiming at streamlining purchases, according to the Athens Messenger.

The information offers ideas on how to reduce the size of city fleets and offers suggestions about what vehicles to purchase, when to do so, and suggests alternatives for travel.

Gosney handed out information on creating a “green fleet” policy for the city. The information comes from the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. Gosney said the idea would be to set up a committee, similar to the Shade Tree Commission, which would review vehicle purchase requests from city departments before they came to Council and measure them against the new policy. The policy would determine how many vehicles are needed in departments (“right sizing”), look at alternatives to using department vehicles, and explore purchasing more fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly vehicles. It would set benchmarks and goals and help the city measure its progress.

Meanwhile, the battle over the purchase of an unmarked vehicle has resulted in the Athens Police Department agreeing to request a Ford Escape Hybrid vehicle. The department initially requested a Ford Explorer Sport Trac. The hybrid would cost more — about $5,000 extra — but the vehicle would use half the gas of the Sport Trac, saving the city about $1,000 is gasoline costs annually.