The price of gas is inching closer to the $4 dollar mark in Texas. The rise is a cause for concern for Wichita County. Over the past few years county commissioners put in extra money allocated toward fuel in their budget. So far the county is able to function fine with the rise in prices, but there could be cutbacks if gas prices continue to increase.
At a time when counties are beginning to recover from cash-strapped budgets, something else lurks up ready to take their hard-earned pennies, the price of fuel.
"We've had some ups and downs but this looks like its going to stay up a while," said Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom.
The state's average is hovering at $3.65 for a gallon of gasoline with diesel running at $3.97. Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom says the county budget is prepared to tackle the pain at the pump, but it could be at the expense of summer roadwork.
"They use asphalt products to do their roadwork and if the fuel prices go up that will go up. It may mean they have to cut back some or reprioritize their budgets."
In the counties multi-million dollar general fund fuel is budgeted and allocated to several departments. It's up to each head official to make sure they're keeping track of that spending
"Ideally we want to exhaust resources from the budget before we start adding to the budget," said Judge Gossom.
Sheriff David Duke said they were prepared for this years ago.
"A couple of years ago we started looking at the budget in case of times like this so we put enough money in there and last year we didn't use half of it," said Sheriff Duke. "It will not affect patrols or responses.
While there seems to be no slow down in prices it's the choices each department makes that will make the drive a little smoother.
Right now Sheriff Deputies pay a rate of $3.31 a gallon to fill-up 34 cents cheaper than the state's average. Wichita County buys its fuel from the city while some precincts receive theirs through delivery. The county's fuel is taxed through the state.
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