Fuel Cost For Out Of County Employees: How Much Are Taxpayers Paying?

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11 News has learned just how much it's costing taxpayers when city employees who live outside of the county drive their city cars home.

According to records obtained from the city of Pueblo's Fleet Maintenance Department, it says Pueblo Police Chief Luis Velez, who lives in Colorado Springs, has already spent about $1,000 more on gas this year than the average officer with a vehicle. He's been driving the same 2010 Ford Escape since he started with the department in 2011.

Fleet Superintendent Sam Ingo says there are 47 vehicles city employees take home. He said 35 of those cars are with police officers. Out of those vehicles being sent home with officers, three are taken out of the county. Those officers are Chief Velez and Captain Brett Wilson of Colorado Springs, and Deputy Chief Andy McLachlan who lives in Fountain.

So far, Chief Velez has driven more than 11,000 miles this year. Of course, only part of those miles are for his commute. He's used a total of 546 gallons of fuel. That's about $1,929 worth of gas. After doing the math, the average police officer has only spent about $808 this year on gas.

When you look at the $513,000 that the Pueblo Police Department allocated this year in fuel, Chief Velez will most likely use about $4,000 of it.

"You can do an average and that's about as close as you're going to get, but then like I say, every one of those vehicles are different, they get different fuel mileage," said Ingo.

City cars can only be filled up at a fleet gas station, like the one behind the police department. Employees have to use a special code and key. That helps the Fleet Maintenance Department track how much gas each person is using. Ingo says each department is billed monthly.