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Miami-Dade has been stockpiling cars for 5 years -- and commissioners have known for at least 2

Miami-Dade County has been stockpiling vehicles for five years because administrators bought hundreds of vehicles in 2006 — and then decided a year later to drastically reduce the size of the county fleet, leaving scores of new and surplus vehicles gathering dust.

Commissioners have known about some of the extra vehicles for at least two years, records show, when the former county manager told them they had more than 100 unused Toyota Prius hybrids sitting in a county parking garage.

Yet the mayor and many commissioners have expressed shock and anger at a recent report that hundreds of brand-new Priuses and other vehicles — vans, pickup trucks, police patrol cars — remained parked in the county’s Earlington Heights garage for years.

Former County Manager George Burgess sent commissioners a memo on June 23, 2010, stating that 103 Priuses were being kept in the garage. The memo did not address other vehicles in the county’s fleet, which currently comprises some 7,300 vehicles.

Burgess wrote that the county had reduced the size of its fleet and extended the life of vehicles in use, creating a surplus of vehicles being stored and maintained in reserve.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who was then a commissioner, came to a similar conclusion Thursday in his own memo explaining why the county has 157 vehicles in the garage. Story here.