Fuel costs prompt review of fuel efficiencies

Because of rising fuel costs, the fuel efficiencies of road and bridge equipment were reviewed by the Marion County Commission meeting last Friday in payday session.

County Commissioner Dan Holub, who requested a computer-generated breakdown of vehicle fuel efficiency from Acting Road and Bridge Supervisor Jim Herzet, said, “We can’t afford any wastes of movements that add to fuel costs anymore.”

He said even road graders that have to move to new work areas or make turn-arounds using extra fuel “need to keep the blade down (working) as much as possible.”

County Clerk Carol Maggard noted the regular area fuel bid awarded to Cooperative Grain & Supply at Hillsboro at $11,483.51 was up $1,200 over the last bid in February. The competitive bid this time from Cardie Oil Co. at Tampa was $11,838.65.

Herzet said computer capabilities make it possible for road and bridge to keep track of fuel mileage.

“We can tell the cost of what we’re hauling by the mile,” he said. “We can monitor the material we’re hauling against truck cost.”

Herzet’s report showed an average hauling cost of $7.90 a ton.

The breakdown of the Cooperative Grain Bid included 800 gallons of diesel in Area 1 at $1.7642 a gallon for $1,411.36; 2,150 gallons of diesel in Area 2 at $1.7642 a gallon for $3,793.03; 1,800 gallons of diesel in Area 3 at $1.7642 a gallon at $3,121.56; and 1,800 gallons of diesel in Area 4 at $1.7642 a gallon at $3,157.56.

The comparative Cardie bids for the same areas and gallons respectively were $1.799 a gallon for $1,439.20; $1.787 a gallon for $3,842.05; $1.819 a gallon for $3,274.20; and $1.824 a gallon for $3,283.20.

The total payday figure for the county was $657,289.15.

Maggard reported sales tax receipts for January, the ice storm month, down from the comparable time period at $38,316.89. The taxes were received by the state in February, and distributed in March.

The figure for the same month last year was $45,776, although this year isn’t severely off from other years, Commission Chairman Bob Hein noted. Previous lows for January included 1999 at $30,628.04 and 2001 at $29,597.90.

The commissioners received a deed for the county health department building along Main Street in Marion from Central National Bank.

They authorized purchase of a spam screen from Lloyd Davies of Great Plains Computers in Marion at $663, with Davies also to set up equipment that will screen out unwanted e-mail coming through the state system to the county. Davies was $33 over a competitive bidder, but the commissioners said shipping costs and Davies’ local service offset the difference.

Maggard said eliminating much of the junk mail will save time and labor for county employees who must look at everything received.

The commissioners said they will try the service for a year to see how it works.

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