Pittsburgh controller says city spends too much on rental cars

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PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh controller Michael Lamb said Thursday the city is spending too much money on rental cars.

A Target 11 investigation into outrageous city car rental costs led to an audit by Lamb.

Auditors with the controller’s office reviewed the city’s contract with Dollar Rent A Car and usage of rentals by city departments, Lamb said.

Police, the parks department and the Office of Municipal Investigations since 2010 have spent nearly $175,000 on vehicle rentals, the review found.

It criticized the city for opting not to join the county in a contract with BBL Fleet Co. The city initially went into contract with Dollar in 2006 and did so again in 2010.

Lamb said the city could save as much as 35 percent by joining forces with the county.

“What we saw is that some of the prices dropped, and the vehicles that we used the most, minivans, the prices went up. That kind of lack of oversight really led to significant costs to city taxpayers,” said Controller Michael Lamb, a likely candidate for mayor next year and frequent critic of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

Current rates quoted by the county’s vendor indicate the potential for significantly lower rates for the city, Lamb said.

Lamb thinks the city should consider using internet auctions to get bids for these types of services.

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Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.