Public works gets pumped up by county reserves |

Public works gets pumped up by county reserves

Fuel prices have escalated beyond county projections, leading Public Works officials to ask for an additional $80,000 above budget to gas up vehicles used for road maintenance and public transportation.

On Tuesday, county supervisors approved taking money from reserves to pay for the additional fuel costs.

“Fuels have never gone this high this fast,” said county Public Works Director Doug Farrell, a 25-year veteran in public works. Gasoline prices have jumped 40 percent since February, he said.

Of the total, $47,000 will be used to fuel buses and $33,000 will be used to fill road department vehicles with gas, said Doug Farrell, director of public works.

Next year, county fuel costs are expected to rise $100,000 above the $260,000 the county budgeted for this year, Farrell said.

That’s about 2 percent of the county’s budget and will force the county to cut into its operations, he said.

The county already is looking at ways to cut back transportation-related services, such as route alternatives and raising rates for public transportation.

“There’s no new revenue coming in, so we’ll have to look at some reductions in service,” Farrell said.

Also at the meeting, supervisors adopted increased traffic mitigation fees for all new construction of residential and commercial buildings to pay for $285 million worth of traffic projects slated for the next 25 years. It is the first time fees have increased since 2003, Farrell said.

The board also agreed to spend $125,000 from Proposition 1B bonds to retrofit 10 public transit buses to diesel running vehicles, a change that will help the county meet strict state air quality standards.

In addition, Supervisor Nate Beason recommended sending four letters in opposition to four fire-related bills recently introduced in the state Legislature that he said will hamper development and affect the county’s ability to receive disaster assistance.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231.

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