Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

How the official cars come clean

Hey, no one likes a dirty car, right? But the various water bans across the area mean — for the most part — the family Ford won't be spick-and-span unless we want to cruise down to the neighborhood carwash and lay out a few bucks. Well, local government is just the opposite. Soap and water? Perhaps that fine lemon smell? A shiny wax job? Not a problem. The local fleet gets washed anywhere and almost anytime. And guess what? You're more than likely paying for it. Here's a look at some governments in the Tampa Bay area and how they keep the fleets clean.

St. Petersburg

The city spends about $11,000 a year on two contracts — one with Pronto and the other with Mariner. The contracts cover 1,200 passenger vehicles, mostly police cars, and about 1,000 washes a year.


The city has three contracts with local carwashes (Grand Prix Car Wash on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, Pelican in Palm Harbor, Always on Missouri) that amount to $24,000 a year for the 600 vehicles — like police cars and meter reader trucks — eligible to use them.

Pinellas County

The county in 2005 canceled its $1,560 contract with Pat-N-Polish on Missouri Avenue in Clearwater to save money. Now, departments are given purchasing cards to use, but not everyone gets reimbursed, so it's tough to say how much it now costs to wash the vehicles. The county — not counting the Sheriff's Office or the School Board — has a little more than 800 passenger vehicles in its fleet.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Deputies can take their cars to the department's Ulmerton Road vehicle maintenance shop where there is a soft-touch carwash with large roller. There, inmates assist with the cleaning. Deputies can also take their vehicles somewhere else and pay to clean them on their own. The department has more than 1,000 vehicles in its fleet.


The city has a number of ways to wash its fleet of 1,347 passenger vehicles. Some employees wash the cars and pick up their own tab, but others can use fuel cards to pay for the tab. Last year, the city spent roughly $1,340 washing cars using the charge cards. On a side note, the city has budgeted $600,000 to build a carwash facility that also will handle large trucks.

Hillsborough County

Officials can wash their vehicles at Fleet Central on 78th Street in Tampa. Employees can also take their vehicles to the nearest carwash and use petty cash or a purchasing card, which amounted to $39,600 last year. The county has about 2,800 passenger vehicles in its fleet, but that does not count the Sheriff's Office or the School Board.

Hernando County Sheriff's Office

Deputies are responsible for keeping their own cars clean. The department has a wash station officials can use or they can simply wash them at home — all on their own dime. The department has a fleet of 242.

Pasco County Sheriff's Office

In the past, some deputies have been able to use the county-owned carwash if they work out of the west side of Pasco. But those on the east who use take-home cars have to do it themselves. Deputies are provided an extra one hour of pay per pay period for equipment and maintenance to care for their vehicle. That includes washing it. County officials say "it's tough to figure out" how much the program costs because not everyone uses it.

How the official cars come clean 06/29/08 [Last modified: Monday, June 30, 2008 7:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pasco delays Irma food distribution after problems elsewhere

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Pasco County has pulled the plug on a planned Food for Florida distribution at the Land O'Lakes Recreation Center that had been scheduled to open to the public on Sunday.

    Pasco County has postponed a planned Food for Florida distribution at the Land O' Lakes Recreation Center on Collier Parkway and is seeking an alternative site. Last week, commissioners said they feared a repeat of the long lines of traffic that appeared outside Plant City Stadium on Oct. 9. The nutrition program for people affected by Hurricane Irma had been scheduled to come to Land O' Lakes Oct. 18 to 27.  [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Editorial: UF can set example for free speech


    White nationalist Richard Spencer is bringing his racist message Thursday to the University of Florida in a legitimate, if utterly repugnant, display of the First Amendment at work. As a public university, UF has little choice but to allow Spencer's speech to take place. Now the university and the broader community has …

    By responding with peaceful protests and refusing to be provoked into violence, UF and the Gainesville community can provide a powerful repudiation of Richard Spencer’s hateful message.
  3. Percussionist rocks out with a blazing triangle solo during Florida Orchestra performance


    Oh, the poor triangle. It's the orchestra equivalent of a rock band's tamborine, and such easy fodder for jokes.

    John Shaw performs a triangle solo.
  4. Amazon expands in Tampa with Pop-Up shop in International Plaza


    TAMPA — A new retailer known largely for its online presence has popped up at International Plaza and Bay Street.

    Shoppers walk past the new Amazon kiosk Tuesday at the International Plaza in Tampa. The kiosk, which opened last month, offers shoppers an opportunity to touch and play with some of the products that Amazon offers.
[CHRIS URSO   |   Times]

  5. Andy Serkis' directing debut 'Breathe' is not so inspiring


    After such a revolutionary acting career, Andy Serkis should be expected to make an equally inventive directing debut. Breathe is anything but that.

    Clare Foy and Andrew Garfield star in Breathe as Robin and Diana Cavendish, an English polio victim and his devoted wife, who pioneered disability rights and wheelchairs with ventilators. [Imaginarium]