City locks in low price for gas, but only through December - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

City locks in low price for gas, but only through December

The City of Lubbock has locked in a price of $2.32 a gallon for gas, but only through December. The City of Lubbock has locked in a price of $2.32 a gallon for gas, but only through December.
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

If budget deficits weren't enough, government agencies now have to battle rising gas prices.

The average price per gallon in Lubbock is $3.56. The City of Lubbock is paying about a dollar less than that, but that may change.

Every year the city's 1,900 vehicles use 1.3 million gallons of fuel. The highest usage? The police and solid waste department.

Two years ago they locked in a price of $2.32 for unleaded, but that contract expires in December, and they're planning on a rate hike.

"I am looking at either a dollar or a dollar and a half more per gallon," said Director of Fleet Operations Leslie Cox.

She says over the past two years, soaring prices have forced the city to put 145 vehicles out of commission.

"In several of our other departments, we've reduced the size from a half, to three quarter ton, to a small pickup," Cox said.

So does this mean the city has to raise taxes? Mayor Tom Martin says not so fast.

"I certainly think by the time the budget is put together there is no need to raise taxes other than what has been approved by the voters," Martin said.

As for Lubbock County, they are feeling the burden. Right now they pay the pump price minus minimal government taxes. However, at the end of the year, they get a small rebate depending on their usage.

To make sure the budget is on track, County Commissioners review the spending during every commissioner's court.

"We are at 60 percent in our budget currently. We're almost halfway through the year and we want to be at 50 percent," said Commissioner Mark Heinrich.

Heinrich says if they have to cut corners to stay within their means, they will.

"We try to do about 11 miles of caliche in each precinct each year. Last year we had to cut that down because the fuel budget wouldn't allow us to haul the caliche. So we cut it down to about 3 miles in each precinct," he said.

Looking toward the future, both the city and the county are looking at alternative fuel as an option.

Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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