Gas Price Budget

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For weeks we've been dealing with rising gas prices, and if you think you've had enough of the pricey petroleum, you're not alone. Local government fleets are handling the hefty gasoline price tag.

If the rising price at the pump has you singing the gasoline blues, just imagine if you were responsible for keeping more than 450 vehicles filled with fuel. That's the case for Lowndes County's vehicle fleet.

Joe Pritchard, the county manager, says, "We're beginning to feel those effects like everyone else, and it will probably cost us maybe an additional nine to $10,000 a month."

Even though the county buys its gas wholesale, they are still seeing an increase of about 30 cents per gallon more than last year. Even so, county officials say their fleet still has a job to do.

The Public Works lot is almost barren, expect for a few trucks here and there. Public Works officials say they have to respond when they are called, despite the cost of gas. They don't have the luxury of walking or riding a bike. They say no matter what, they'll be there.

Tommy Folsom, a Public Works employee, says, "When we get a call we have to respond, whether it be good weather or bad weather, and the bad weather gives more to respond to."

It is why county employees are working extra hard to be more fuel efficient, a difference that could save the county and taxpayers big bucks.

County officials say the extra cost of gas will be paid for with money from the contingency fund.