TARGET 8: Residents pay for city workers' commutes beyond city

3 years 3 months 3 weeks ago Sunday, February 01 2015 Feb 1, 2015 Sunday, February 01, 2015 8:37:00 PM CST February 01, 2015 in Target 8
By: Jessica Mensch, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - City employees are routinely allowed to take city cars home when they are on call. However, there are no restrictions in place for how far employees choose to live from Columbia.

After months of communication with the city, KOMU 8 News obtained records from the city outlining which employees are authorized to take cars home and what cities they live in. Former Public Communications Manager Renee Graham said there were no records on file tracking who was authorized to take cars home, so KOMU 8 News had to have these records made. The city also does not keep any form of tracking devices in cars, so it does not have any way to know exactly where the cars are going at any time.

Water and Light, in particular, had a number of employees who travel home for commutes outside of city limits, all on the dime of Columbia residents.

Below you can find a map showing some of the cities where employees travel home in city cars.

?

Water and Light Spokesperson Connie Kacprowicz said the department uses rate-payer dollars to pay for gas for the vehicles.

"Everything that a customer pays for goes to the cost of service. Gas is a cost of the service we provide," Kacprowicz said.

The city has its own fueling station where employees fill up on gas and diesel fuel. The city gets a slightly discounted rate. For instance, during a recent city purchase on January 16, the city of Columbia paid approximately $1.47 for a gallon of gas. The average gas price in Missouri was $1.77 on January 16, according to gasbuddy.com.

A typical commute for an employee from Blackwater at the current city gas rate, driving a car that gets the national average miles per gallon, would cost approximately $5 roundtrip. This rate only calculates the distance between the city limits of Columbia and Blackwater.

The estimated price of each trip was far higher in previous years, given that gas prices are the lowest they have been since 2009. During past years, a gallon of gas could cost upwards of three or four dollars.

Kacprowicz said it's necessary for employees to take cars home.

"Columbia Water and Light often has emergencies after hours where water or electric service is not happening for some of our residents. So, in order to quickly respond to those emergencies, get crews in faster, we allow them to drive city vehicles home."

When asked whether long commutes cut into the efficiency of response times, Kacprowicz said it might, but there is nothing the city can do to change it.

"We don't have any way of regulating where people choose to live," she said.

Kacprowicz pointed out that not every out-of-town employee takes a car home daily. She said the department needs the employees on call.

The city has talked about instituting a residency requirement for city employees in past years.

"We decided against it," Deputy City Manager Tony St. Romaine said. "Even though we do have a very well-educated workforce here in Columbia, I think it would be a mistake to limit our applicant pool just to Columbia citizens. Sometimes there are certain positions that can only be filled by somebody maybe outside of Columbia or even outside of the state of Missouri."

 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missourians who are moving outdoors as the weather should keep their eyes open for snakes. ... More >>
48 minutes ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 10:21:00 AM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The counting of votes was underway Saturday following Ireland's referendum to lift the... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, May 26 2018 May 26, 2018 Saturday, May 26, 2018 6:43:00 AM CDT May 26, 2018 in News
NEW BLOOMFIELD - New Bloomfield has a new mayor, but it's the way he was selected that has a group... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 9:26:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The ACLU of Missouri is suing the Independence School District on behalf of a senior... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 6:35:52 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Thornbrook neighborhood was without water and electricity for almost two hours on Friday. Columbia Water and... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 5:36:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY – Four vehicle crashes have occurred this week along State Road F west of Fulton in Callaway County.... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 4:12:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – After serving eight years in the United States Air Force, the passion of this veteran for sky travel... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - In another day of political theater, the special House committee investigating Governor Eric Greitens heard new testimony... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 3:15:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Organizers are expecting a large turnout for the 30th annual "Salute to Veterans" airshow on Memorial Day weekend. ... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:53:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- When most people lose an animal, one of the first steps is to put a "missing" sign on a... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:46:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Aircraft and pilots met at Columbia Regional Airport Friday to prepare for the 30th annual "Salute to Veterans"... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:45:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
CALIFORNIA - A high-speed car chase ended Sunday when the suspect slid into a ditch, according to a press release... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:30:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- It's no secret more cars will out for Memorial Day weekend, but many drivers are taking precautions before... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:16:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - More than five hundred Missourians have lost their hunting, fishing and trapping licenses after a Department of... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 1:48:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
HARRISONVILLE (AP) — Authorities say a 12-year-old western Missouri boy fought off an attempted abduction by hitting the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 8:53:00 AM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating an early morning crash on I-70 Westbound. It caused major backups... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 8:47:00 AM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - On Thursday, the Columbia Airport Advisory Board announced the TSA approved a security screening lane to open by... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 11:41:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- May is known for Mother’s day, Memorial Day and in Missouri, the start of tick season. “May, June... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 8:21:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 81°
12pm 86°
1pm 89°
2pm 91°
3pm 91°