Fuel conservation wise for city, county

Published 12:01 am Sunday, March 6, 2011

Vicksburg City Accountant Doug Whittington believes that today’s skyrocketing gas prices will only get worse. Gas could cost $4.50 a gallon by Memorial Day, he and others are predicting.

Like most of us, if not all, the city, Warren County and the Vicksburg Warren School District are preaching conservation. Mayor Paul Winfield called for immediate belt-tightening. Warren County Administrator John Smith said supervisors built in money for a 10 to 15percent increase in gas prices.

Although many officials said they did not see the dramatic rise coming, they will wait no longer to implement conservation efforts. A wise choice indeed.

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Imagine that weather forecasters saw a hurricane headed this way, predicting tail winds slapping downtown Vicksburg. Imagine further that not until the winds reached 50 mph did city and county leaders start working on a plan of action. Such a scenario would be unheard of.

The City of Vicksburg fuels about 356 vehicles and 75 other gas-powered machines. Nearly $579,000 of the city’s $31.5 million budget is allocated for fuel. About $445,000 of the county’s $14.5 million budget goes for fuel. The school district budgeted almost $577,000 to fuel 137 buses and 22 other vehicles.

Just as hurricanes are out of our control, so are the prices at the pump. Middle East unrest, ballooning worldwide demands and federal impediments to drilling in the United States all combine to make the pain at the pump unbearable.

Everyone will have to make adjustments, including our elected officials. It’s heartening to see them doing just that.