Commission debates lowering gas allowance

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News 12 at six o'clock, May 27, 2008

Augusta, GA---Robert Tolbert is a father of three who is trying to find some way to battle rising gas prices, and he's not alone. The city is turning it's eye toward commissioner's monthly gas allowance.

"I shouldn't have to pay to be a Richmond County commissioner...shouldn't have to...and the way that the rules are written I'm not supposed to," said District 4 commissioner Alvin Mason.

But some commissioners want the rules to change. They're suggesting cutting their free gas allowance in half form 100 to 50 gallons a month. "When you change the rules in the middle of the game...I got issues...cause who knows whether I would have run or not," said Mason.

This all comes while the city fleet manager claims gas usage is down. "The frustrating part of that just like it is for you and all the citizens of the's still costing more to go less," said Ron Crowden.

Robert drives a sports utility vehicle similar to some city vehicles. You can imagine how much he spends. "I average on a week 106 dollars," said Robert.

And if you think that is something...the city is spending $116,000 dollars on gas a week. "The costs go up regardless of what we try and do," said Mr. Crowden.

That's why commissioner Betty Beard agrees that focusing on commissioners alone won't fix the city's gas woes. "Please stop...when it comes to commissioners...and the next time it comes to the commissioners please also look at the mayor and everyone else in the building," said Beard.

The vote was tied in the finance committee meeting. It will go to the full commission next week with no recommendation from committee. Commissioners have spent about $5,000 on gas this year.

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