Augusta, GA (WJBF) – Keeping Augusta’s fleet rolling, has city leaders concerned about blowing up the budget.
“I think we’re going to have to be very, very frugal, in how we approach this especially in regard to how we budgeted for it this year,” said Commissioner Brandon Garrett.
City vehicles use a lot of fuel.
This year the city budgeted almost two point five million dollars for gas, another one point seven million for diesel.
But that was before fuel prices skyrocketed.
This year the city was expecting to pay around $2.80 for gas, minus taxes, which the city doesn’t pay and another $2.90 for diesel.
But right now, prices are way higher than that.
“It is absolutely a concern, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, and so we’re going to have to tighten our belts is what we’re going to have to do,” said Commissioner Alvin Mason.
It’s only March so the city could be facing fuel prices that could be fifty percent or more higher than expected for months, so other spending could suffer.
“We can’t spend a lot of money on the arts and things like that when necessities are not being met, we just have to keep a close eye on the next several months,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.
“This thing could blow our budget out of whack some people are talking four, five I just paid 4 dollars 86 cents,” said Commissioner Mason.
And commissioners say the high prices will require the city to take steps to lessen the impact.
“Anytime, you have an interruption in something you budgeted for is impacted because of outside forces you have to take action,” said Commissioner Garrett.
A growing fuel crisis could leave the city with little money to burn.
The 2022 budget does include one-point-three-million dollars in the general fund contingency — but that’s for covering *all* unexpected expenses — not just fuel.