MONTGOMERY, AL - The City of Montgomery has cut down the number of city vehicles driven home from 137 to four to save money, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. This number does not include non-public safety employees or members of the mayor's cabinet.

Effective this week, only two out of 22 departments - traffic engineering and maintenance - will be assigned take-home vehicles, which will only be allowed when an employee is on call for the evening. Limiting city vehicles for city business was among a number of cost-cutting measures proposed by Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange in the 2010 budget.

The mayor's cabinet will be permitted to take home assigned city vehicles because they are expected to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if a situation arises, according to Montgomery Emergency Management Agency Director Steve Jones.

Strange tasked Jones to work with Terry Gaddis, director of fleet maintenance, to decide which jobs needed a take-home vehicle and to propose a new plan that would save the city money.

The new plan means no more non-public safety vehicles are allowed to leave the police jurisdiction of Montgomery, which is the three-mile area around the city limits. It also means the city will no longer cover the costs associated with the 650,000 miles driven each year between work and the employees' homes.

The change is expected to save the city between $450,000 and $550,000. More savings will be realized once the city moves into the second phase of the project, which will identify vehicles that could be removed from the city's fleet and sold. All told, the city is attempting to save about $750,000 through these changes.

The project focused on the city fleet on the non-public safety side. It was decided that only the cabinet jobs and "time-sensitive functions" needed a take-home vehicle in order to do their jobs properly.

All department heads had the option of taking home their vehicles if they agreed to pay the current IRS mileage rate, which is 55 cents a mile. As of last week, no one had requested this option.

About 10 police department vehicles and 10 fire department vehicles assigned to administrative positions no longer are allowed to go home. But the estimated 250 public safety vehicles that go home every evening will continue to be driven to and from work.

The City of Montgomery currently operates more than 1,600 vehicles and motorized equipment in its fleet, according to the City Web site.