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Erie County Seeks Comtrol Board Approval for GPS

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Erie County officials want to use GPS technology to help the county beat soaring fuel costs.

Erie County Executive Chris Collins said the county could save more than $650,000 a year in wasted fuel and maintenance costs if county vehicles were equipped with GPS tracking devices. About 200 trucks and other vehicles in the department of public works would be outfitted with the units.

Collins said they don't suspect abuses. But he said the monitoring could prevent it.

Collins will ask the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority for a $136,000 efficiency grant to pay for the units. Erie County lawmaker Michael Ranzenhofer first floated the idea earlier this year with the legislature. But the measure failed to get backing. Ranzenhofer said the technology has a proven track record of savings.

Officials say the town of Islip lowered its fuel consumption by 13 percent after only a month of using the GPS units in its vehicles. Collins is optimistic the control board will approve Erie County's request. He said the estimated payback to cover the cost of the equipment is about four months. Commissioner of Public Works Gerry Sentz is also supportive. He said it could save money and make routing work more efficient. Officials say the technology could also help them think green by cutting down on idling times and lower emissions.

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