Fueling Community Protection

Published 9:00 pm Friday, March 9, 2012

Everyone’s seen the price of fuel rise in the past month.

     Just as the price of gasoline affects a family, it also affects government entities as well.

     In Lincoln County, the sheriff and the Brookhaven police chief said fuel prices haven’t made them make any changes in their budgets so far. But there is some uncertainty over what might happen later on this year.

     “This month is going to tell us a lot about fuel,” said Sheriff Steve Rushing. “So far we’ve been about on par to where we usually are with our fuel budget.”

     Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson said the rising prices at the pump haven’t hit his department.

     “So far it hasn’t,” said Henderson. “Nothing has been said by the mayor or board as of yet.”

     Due to gasoline’s volatility in price, Rushing said they usually estimate how much fuel will cost based on how things were the in the previous year.

     The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office has $128,000 budgeted for fuel for 21 full-time cars, according to Rushing.

     “In the past, to budget we’ve taken one of our highest months and used that as a basis for the next year,” said Rushing. “We haven’t had a budget increase in a few years now, so we’ve had to move money around to make sure we can cover everything.”

     Rushing said that his department isn’t sure what they would cut if gas prices rise considerably because it would depend on how high they went.

     Brookhaven police have a fuel budget of $145,000, according to city records. The department has 18 units, with eight to 10 being on the road at any time, according to Henderson.

     Henderson said his department has never had to make budget adjustments due to the cost of gas under his administration.

     “I don’t plan on cutting anything,” Henderson said when asked what changes would be made if gas continued to rise considerably. “The most important thing to me and the department is to continue to protect the people of Brookhaven.”