KINGSTON, NY - Ulster County has been awarded a $481,000 state Department of State efficiency grant to fit the county fleet of approximately 450 vehicles with global positioning devices, according to the Kingston Daily Freeman.

The project, expected to be in operation by first quarter of 2010, was announced by County Executive Michael Hein, who said the funding will cover about 90 percent of the project costs. "This system when combined with a strong fleet manager will provide enhanced oversight, coordinate maintenance, reduce operational costs and provide increased employee safety," he said.

"The AVL, or automated vehicle locator system, by Track Star that's being installed in virtually all county vehicles and many from participating municipalities will provide in real time the whereabouts and status of municipal vehicles," Hein said.

Track Star President Michael Hughes said the GPS devices will be able to give county officials information about how equipment is being used. During a press conference demonstration, county officials used a mapping Web page to track a snow plow leaving the Golden Hill transportation complex and have it interact with an existing six-year-old program that already shows the location of every police car in the county for every law enforcement agency.

Ulster County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Lattin said the system has helped the department work with complaints from the general public about officers speeding past their homes.

Hein said the units will help to resolve issues that have previously been caused by coordination problems between municipalities, reported the Freeman.