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Officials feel the pinch of high gas prices

With gas prices at just coming down from an all-time high, local governments have been feeling the financial burden of keeping their vehicles on the road. But officials are still working out some ways to minimize the cost of the necessity.

The McDuffie County School System has to keep a fleet of busses on the road every weekday. Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Jim Franklin said the tanks at the bus barn were filled following hurricane Katrina, and several schedule adjustments are being considered to help in the crunch.

"We're reducing the mileage with several of our busses. We're rerouting some things," he said. "We're also looking at reducing the number of busses we have by consolidating some routs."

Also, county crews and sheriff's deputies are out on the road all the time. McDuffie County Manager Don Norton said four weeks' supply of gas is normally on hand in the county's tanks to fill those needs.

"We obviously are feeling the crunch, and we're hopeful with everybody else that those prices are real temporary and that they're going to ease back down fairly quickly," he said.

Lately there have been some minor adjustments to conserve the county's supply, but there have been no restrictions, Mr. Norton said. He added that the conservative approach isn't too different from the county's normal method.

"We're obviously being very careful with what we use our vehicles for and which jobs we're working on," Mr. Norton said. "We make it a policy to kind of keep our costs down all the time."

Thomson City Administrator Bob Flanders echoed those thoughts about keeping gasoline costs at a minimum although the city has 32 vehicles that operate on natural gas.

In addition to a reminder about not taking vehicles home, Mr. Flanders said city workers have been retold to do several things they were already supposed to be doing.

"It's just been killing our budget," Mr. Flanders said. "The only thing we ask them to do is be more aware and more conscious of sitting there with idling vehicles and just the normal things you hope they would do on a day to day basis."



Web posted on Thursday, September 15, 2005











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