Smith County Upgrades Its Fuel Depot To Save Taxpayer Dollars - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/26/07-Tyler

Smith County Upgrades Its Fuel Depot To Save Taxpayer Dollars

It's a move expected to save Smith County taxpayers thousands of dollars a year. All county vehicles will now use regular grade gasoline, instead of plus grade.  As KLTV 7 News found out, it's a change Smith County Precinct 1 Commissioner JoAnn Fleming says is long overdue.

"I could not believe the county had for so many years a higher grade gasoline," said Commissioner Fleming.  She says when she noticed the county was paying for plus grade gasoline, she wanted to know why. It turns out, years ago the Smith County Sheriff's Department had requested to use plus grade gasoline for its then-aging fleet of vehicles.

"We had high-performance automobiles that wouldn't run on that cheap, cheap gas that we were getting," said Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith.  "That's changed now. We don't use those type of high performance cars anymore."

Because the county only has the capability of carrying one grade of gasoline all county vehicles were running on the more expensive grade. "We were spending money we didn't need to spend," said Commissioner Fleming.

So, last year, Smith County commissioners voted to switch over to regular grade gasoline instead of super. Commissioners also allocated funds to upgrade the county's fuel depot, giving them a higher capacity. This would allow them to buy gasoline in bulk at a much cheaper rate. In addition, a new computerized system keeps track of who is using how much fuel. "We wanted to do this for a long time and it's going to help our operation a lot," said Smith County engineer Bill Bala.

According to the Road and Bridge Department, the county would save up to $15,000 a year on regular gasoline. Plus grade gasoline would be out completely, saving another $10,000.  Diesel fuel would also be discounted $5,600 a year. Total savings come out to $40,600 a year.

"This was long overdue because this was a very way to save tax dollars," said Commissioner Fleming.

The county is not done with this project yet. They're going to be installing a canopy and paving the location. The whole thing is expected to be completed by mid March. The county spent $100,000 total on this upgrade. Bala says he thinks the system will not have to be upgraded again for another 20 years.  

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.  ortega@kltv.com

    

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