Archive for Thursday, June 15, 2000

City budget hit by rising gas prices

June 15, 2000

With fuel prices nearing $1.70 a gallon in the DeSoto area, some people are reconsidering their travel plans for the summer.

High gasoline prices have affected the city's budget and the personal budgets of many of its residents.

Teenager Claire Gilliam spent close to $25 to fill the tank of her Chevy Blazer Monday afternoon.

"And it wasn't even on empty yet. A few months ago I could fill the tank for $15." she said.

Gilliam lives in Shawnee and works in Lawrence. The current price of gasoline has her rethinking the logic of her three-time a week commute.

"It seems like I spend most of my money on gas anymore. I'm trying to save money for college, but I think I need to find a job closer to home. It's discouraging to spend most of your check on gas," she said.

Gary Johnson spent about the same amount of money to fill his truck with gas. Johnson said rising gas prices could affect his family's vacation plans.

"We were planning to drive to Arizona to visit my wife's family this summer. We'll probably still go, but we might postpone the trip for a while. I have a feeling the prices are only going to get higher the farther west we go," he said.

City Administrator Gerald Cooper said the high fuel prices have affected the city's budget.

The city operates four trucks in the city water department, two in street department and one for the city's animal control officer and meter reader. Keeping all the vehicles full of gas is getting more expensive by the day, Cooper said.

"Fuel prices have really impacted our budget. I don't think we'll have an overrun on the budget; it just means there are other things we can't buy because of the money we're putting out for gasoline," he said.

The city's larger street equipment uses diesel fuel, which Cooper said is purchased in bulk. A lack of facilities, however, prevents the city from purchasing unleaded gasoline in a more economical manner.

Cooper anticipated rising gas prices early this summer and took the first step toward lowering the city's gasoline bills.

"We have the intention of downsizing our vehicles. As they need to be replaced, we'll purchase smaller vehicles. When we got the new truck for animal control and meter reading, we got a small pick-up. We'll continue to do that because I don't think the prices are going to go down any time soon," he said.

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