By TOM GIAMBRONI
LISBON - The village Board of Public Affairs has changed its mind about using a GPS tracking device to monitor the whereabouts of BPA vehicles.
BPA member Bill Hoover said they decided at last week's meeting to reverse course based on the advice of village Solicitor Virginia Barborak and the fact there may no longer be any need to use the devices.
"There wasn't a lot of enthusiasm for it, plus our gas consumption has dropped," he said.
The decision comes one month after the BPA reported it was exploring purchasing a GPS device to rotate among water and sewer department vehicles to improve efficiency by keeping track of employee driving patterns.
They said the devices would also allow them to determine the location of vehicles at any time by simply logging into the computer program. The device would also tell officials the speed being driven and other information, such as if the employee was using a cell phone while driving.
The GPS suggestion was made after the BPA began requiring employees to maintain a mileage-and-gasoline log when driving village vehicles after experiencing an unexplained 29 percent jump in fuel purchases last year.
The monitoring requirement has resulted in a 50 percent reduction in gas bills, and Hoover said that is one of the reasons why they decided against purchasing a GPS device. "The problem has pretty much solved itself," he said.
Barborak had voiced reservations about potential legal and insurance issues involving the use of GPS, although the city of Youngstown and Trumbull County are among many government agencies that outfit vehicles with tracking devices.
Hoover said the tracking device is always an option. "It's still available and we can buy it later if we want," he said.
The devices cost $350 per unit, plus a $15 monthly fee for the online monitoring service.