Urban planning community

Poll results: Do you drive your own car for work business

Voters
35. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes and get reimbursed.

    10 28.57%
  • Yes and don't get a dime for it.

    0 0%
  • No. City or Municipal Car.

    11 31.43%
  • I never go anywhere.

    2 5.71%
  • Sometimes. Depends on the meeting...

    11 31.43%
  • Other, explained below.

    1 2.86%
+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 21 of 21

Thread: Do you drive your own car for site visits, off-site meetings, etc?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South of Canada
    Posts
    347

    Do you drive your own car for site visits, off-site meetings, etc?

    I'm curious whether or not you have a company/municipal vehicle to use for site visits, off-site meetings, etc? Do you drive your own car? Get reimbursed? I'll try to add a poll too.

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    Staff meeting
    Posts
    8,247
    As city employee and Dept Dir. I have my own city car for site visits and business trips.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  3. #3
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 1996
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    7,603
    Depends. If it's during the middle of the work day, I'll take a municipal vehicle. If it's at the beginning or end of the day, I'll use my own car and get the mileage reimbursement.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South of Canada
    Posts
    347
    We used to have a cute little civic powered by natural gas. Four departments shared it but it worked out okay. Now, they think its a good idea to sell it (not sure what they'll even get for it) and reimburse us instead. People are quite upset- "I don't have a rider for my insurance and it won't cover me if I get in an accident" or "I have a leased vehicle and can't add the miles."

    For as much driving as we do, it seems downright stupid to not have a municipal vehicle. Just my honest opinion.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,086
    Back before the economic downturn, I drove my own vehicle and got reimbursed. They took away the reimbursement, which would have sucked in my previous position because we didn't have a office car (satellite location). But I was moved into a group that did have a vehicle, so that wasn't a problem.

    Where I am now is a bit of both. There are 10 planners that share 2 trucks. I use it for site visits. But there are the occassional night meetings. I drive my own vehicle to those. I don't get reimbursed, but I get comp time. I could drive the truck, but I'd have to come back to City Hall before going home, and that's not convenient.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Upper left edge
    Posts
    3,849
    It depends. Most meetings I go to in a city car, especially if I am going to be gone overnight (Mrs. Otis and I have only one car). If I intend to stop off someplace where a city car would not be appropriate (no, not the pron store) like Costco then I take my car. Also I take my car if I am going to tack on some longer, out-of-the-way errand, such as if I have a meeting in Salem but want to do some personal business in Portland after it.

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,319
    I'm a dept. director for a small city. I get a monthly vehicle allowance rather than reimbursement or a city vehicle. Based on the amount of city-related miles I do in a given month, I probably come out behind but at least I don't have to deal with documenting mileage and being constantly questioned by the finance department.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    3,265
    Our agency owns two vehicles, both with municipal plates. I'm out every day, and use the 4WD exclusively. Occasionally, I use my own vehicle.

    Our board considered eliminating those vehicles. I pointed out that the municipal plates offer us some credibility, and that having the little SUV is better than using personal CARS on construction sites. So far, so good.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South of Canada
    Posts
    347
    Quote Originally posted by kms View post
    Our agency owns two vehicles, both with municipal plates. I'm out every day, and use the 4WD exclusively. Occasionally, I use my own vehicle.

    Our board considered eliminating those vehicles. I pointed out that the municipal plates offer us some credibility, and that having the little SUV is better than using personal CARS on construction sites. So far, so good.
    I'm rallying for the same logic. The ability to show up in a vehicle which advertises itself to be natural gas powered, as well as indicates it is city owned, only makes good sense to me. Additionally, we paid very little for it, and our only costs now are monthly maintenance and insurance. I cannot imagine that reimbursement to employees could possibly be less than those items.

    Also, my zoning administrator is taking the hard line on this. He refuses to use his own vehicle and I can't get him to do any site visits, check for violations, or even go to a meeting. I don't blame him, but at the same time, things are falling aside and my boss doesn't seem to have a fix lined up.....sigh.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,953
    Since I am my own employer I use my car, but I do get to write off the mileage as an expense on my taxes.

    I have experienced a variety of approaches in the past. One place did not reimburse me. Another provided a monthly allowance. Another provided a transit pass and expected that it would meet my needs, so did not reimburse miles. (So I am supposed to drive 20 miles to my work city, catch a bus, and ride to the airport instead of driving 15 miles to the airport? And what about when I return after midnight and the buses are not running?) The last regular employer provided vehicles which they encouraged us to use, but also reimbursed miles. The vehicles were crappy old Dodge minivans that had a habit of breaking down. At various times I lost a belt, a hose, and brakes. Chet also had a belt break on him, two hours from the office.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  11. #11
    Cyburbian cng's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Greater Los Angeles
    Posts
    207
    Our planning department of 12 share a prius. If the department vehicle is reserved, there are other municipal vehicles available for use. On occasion, when the trip is out of the area, we would take our own vehicles and be reimbursed later.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,956
    All of the above. The preferred one is a monthly allowance, with mileage reimbursement when driving out of the jurisdiction. Taking the city car home leads to all sorts of complications.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Back in SE Texas
    Posts
    1,672
    My employer has 2 vehicles, a mini-van and a hybrid Escape. If I have a meeting during the weekday I tend to use one of pool vehicles.

    If I have a meeting either prior to or after work hours I will usually use my own vehicle. I really don't want to have to go back to the office at 9:00 pm to pick up my personal vehicle. I will also use my personal vehicle if I have an overnight trip, since I feel bad keeping a pool vehicle of of commission for that long.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,247
    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    It depends. Most meetings I go to in a city car, especially if I am going to be gone overnight (Mrs. Otis and I have only one car). If I intend to stop off someplace where a city car would not be appropriate (no, not the pron store) like Costco then I take my car.
    Hmm does this mean you regularly take the City car to the pron store?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  15. #15
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lowering the PCI in the Hills
    Posts
    5,738
    My employer has a pool of cars that we share between a few hundred people in multiple departments (planning, marketing, finance, HR, purchasing, facilities...) so if you want to use one you generally have to reserve it a day or two in advance.

    I usually just end up taking my personal vehicle and requesting reimbursement. The county prefers us to take the municipal cars because in the long run it's slightly cheaper for them instead of us being reimbursed but I usually forget to record my miles and drive so seldom that I'm probably saving them money!

    Maybe if some of our municipal vehicles had satellite radio, iPod connections, 4wd, and were convertible I'd be more likely to take them...
    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - 1980 Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan

  16. #16
    Cyburbian dandy_warhol's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    meh.
    Posts
    8,339
    Our department has two municipal vehicles, plus the Housing guys have their own municipal vehicles. So basically we share 2 cars among 7 people. There are other cars we can use if the 2 are reserved.

    For night meetings I tend to take my car and don't ask for mileage reimbursement mainly because of the hassle.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 1997
    Location
    Clowns to the left, jokers to the right
    Posts
    1,438
    I try to take my own car whenever I can. My department only has one truck, and I try to keep it available for our building inspector. But, every once in a while I'll use the truck for something.

    Not sure what I'm going to do next week. My car died, and I have to be at a meeting out of town most of the day. Might see if I can borrow a car from another department, so my building inspector isn't stuck inside all day.
    Last edited by mendelman; 16 Mar 2011 at 11:02 AM.
    JOE ILIFF
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Debt is normal . . . Be weird!
    Dave Ramsey

    "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think."
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Ocean to the east, land to the west
    Posts
    1,068
    I drive my own car and (not that you asked) use my own cell phone. I just prefer to not be labeled wherever I go, and I also don't want to worry about where the car is "spotted." I could probably use a municipal car for site visits, etc., but I don't bother. For long trips I will put in for mileage but for puttering around town I don't bother. For the cell phone (again, not that you asked) I never bother to ask for reimbursement.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    The Fox Valley
    Posts
    4,731
    Blog entries
    1
    At my current job as an intern for a real estate company, I drive my own car to pick up stuff or drop stuff off for the company and get paid for it. I like getting reimbursed, because they pay you much more than what it actually costs per mile for gas (since they add in extra money for general wear & tear, oil, etc.). They're like..."take this stuff over to the next town and drop it off." And I'm like..."OK, an extra $10 sounds good to me!" (not to mention the ability to play my rock music with the windows down on a beautiful day)

    At my previous internship working for a municipality, we had plenty of municipal cars to use (although sometimes we would have to borrow the water conservation inspector's car or admin's car or a property maintenance inspector's car, etc.). Generally, the planners didn't have their own car for most of the time I was there. However, there were many times where I would just prefer to drive my own car (or didn't want to work around the inspectors' schedules), but in that case, I did not get reimbursed, since I could have used a municpal vehicle. I didn't mind it as much at the time though, especially since I would be driving my car within the town, so I wasn't burning through too much gas.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    In a 480 square foot ex baseball nacho stand
    Posts
    7,239
    Our department provides a car for "official use" - we have a magnetic seal on the door that can be removed if we wish to be incognito.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  21. #21
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Jukin' City
    Posts
    16,569
    We have an older F150 Ford pick up and a newer Ford Crown Victoria.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Site visits and ADA compliance
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 2
    Last post: 10 Nov 2010, 6:19 PM
  2. Replies: 22
    Last post: 20 Oct 2010, 1:48 PM
  3. On-site/off-site parking requirements
    Transportation Planning
    Replies: 1
    Last post: 10 May 2008, 8:41 AM
  4. Ex Parte Rules - Site Visits
    Land Use and Zoning
    Replies: 23
    Last post: 23 Nov 2004, 12:11 PM
  5. Replies: 14
    Last post: 13 Feb 2004, 11:17 AM