Regional leaders ready to counter gasoline price spikes | Local News

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The recent spike in fuel prices has many municipalities worried. Police departments, fire departments, public works, and other government agencies require constant fuel usage and often have fuel as a line item in their annual budget.

While many municipalities across the country have announced difficulties with this, many Ozarks community leaders have said they are in a better than average position to deal with the increases due to planning and reservations.

Hollister City administrator Rick Ziegenfuss told Branson Tri-Lakes News that with their budget year starting April 1, they were able to determine where last year’s fuel budget would end, allowing them to prepare for a higher level in the next budget.

“We have found that we have funds remaining in the fuel lines of most departments’ budget from last year, which means that we will only have to increase next year’s budget by 8% to cover the expected increase in fuel prices,” Ziegenfuss said.

He said his employees are also trained to take steps to minimize the fuel consumption of city vehicles and equipment. Staff are trained to turn off vehicles and equipment rather than leaving them unused. (Other local communities, such as Branson, also have a “no idling” policy.)

The city is also focusing on purchasing or leasing vehicles that are more fuel efficient compared to older models that are being replaced. They also make sure to use the right equipment for a job, so they don’t use bigger equipment (which uses more fuel) than necessary for each job.

Still, Ziegenfuss said the city faces the same challenges as everyone else.

“Like all other personal and organizational budgets, the city is being impacted by rising fuel prices and hyperinflation in every area of ​​business,” he said. “We do our best to be good stewards of public funds and scarce resources.”

Taney County Auditor David Clark told the Branson Tri-Lakes News that fuel cost concerns were front and center for the Taney County commission during budget discussions at the end of 2021. The commissioners were considering possible increases and adjusted county budgets to take a potential fuel cost increase. They also revised the county’s mileage allowance for employees to match the state of Missouri.

Some individual county departments will still be affected. Taney County Sheriff Brad Daniels told the Branson Tri-Lakes News in their case that they prepared the budget based on previous years and they will exceed their budgeted amount of fuel despite planning for increased costs.

“We didn’t plan for this kind of jump,” Daniels said.

Taney County Ambulance District Manager Darryl Coontz said his team is prepared for some of the increased fuel costs due to similar situations occurring with other items vital to their operations.

“We may also see large fluctuations in medical equipment and drug costs,” Coontz told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “So we were able to maintain a high cash reserve and we were able to absorb the costs without too many budgetary problems at the moment.”

Coontz also said they are seeing an increase in calls, which in turn translates into increased revenue and increased reimbursements from Medicare and insurance companies. Additionally, TCAD is funded in part by sales taxes, and record sales tax revenue in 2021 continued through the first few months of 2022, leaving TCAD in a strong revenue position.

All those interviewed for this article agreed that fuel costs will continue to be a concern and that they will be looking for ways to minimize the impact of rising fuel costs in order to spend taxpayers’ money wisely. sensible.

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