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Waste Watch: West Virginia vehicle fleet follow-up

A new report issued on the West Virginia state vehicle fleet by Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred points out a number of major problems with how the state runs its vehicle fleet. (WCHS/WVAH)

A new report issued on the West Virginia state vehicle fleet by Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred points out a number of major problems with how the state runs its vehicle fleet.

The biggest problem is that no one really knows how many vehicles West Virginia taxpayers are bankrolling. And there doesn't seem to be any efforts being made by the Department of Administration, Board of Risk and Insurance Management and Division of Motor Vehicles to provide an accurate count.

Allred said there is no excuse for a situation like this in the modern age.

“In 2016, the state of West Virginia still does not know how many vehicles it owns,” Allred said. “I don’t know how you can run any business or organization efficiently or effectively know what you own, what you have and what you insure. There’s just no excuse for it in this day and age.”

The audit uncovers four major problem areas and offers solutions. Besides getting a handle on exactly how many vehicles are in the fleet, auditors found there should be changes in how the DMV issues titles and plates.

The audit also said agencies are ignoring the law when it comes to getting state license plates and reporting their correct number of vehicles.

Finally, the audit discovered that several agencies, including the state auditor's office, attorney general, Division of Corrections and Alcohol Beverage Control Administration, have more state license plates than the law says they are allowed to possess.

Del. Gary Howell, R-Mineral, said ultimately, the state needs an accurate calculation so that taxpayer money will not be wasted.

“We don’t have an accurate accounting and nobody still can tell us,” Howell said. “Until we can pass some legislation to get control of this and have an accurate accounting of each vehicle, we really don’t know what the state owns. We don’t know how much taxpayer money is being spent or wasted, as the case may be and this is about the taxpayers.”

Howell said he is introducing legislation in the next session to try and get a handle on the state fleet numbers. One of the bills being talked about would change the current state license plates from green to another color.

Currently the green license plates never expire, but the proposed legislation would mandate that they would need to be renewed every two years.

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