First on 12: High gas prices could force deputies to park cars

By: Chris Thomas Email
By: Chris Thomas Email
Maj. Richard Weaver, Richmond County Road Patrol

Leaders say Augusta could exhaust its gas budget by September if steps aren't taken. (May 9, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, May 9, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Richmond County Road Patrol is talking Only to 12 about a plan that is meant to cut back on time deputies spend on the road.

"Every week it is just higher and higher," said Major Richard Weaver about local gas prices. "Nobody likes having to pay more for gas."

Law enforcement is now preparing a plan to slash their usage before the fuel budget dries up.

"Those folks who live outside of the county that drive vehicles home [will be impacted]," said Major Weaver.

Those deputies would have to park their cars at a yet to be determined location.

"We [also] have a lot of guys who work specials," said Major Weaver.

Specials are jobs deputies take outside of their day shift. Weaver says in those cases deputies might have to pick up the fuel tab.

"They don't like it," noted Weaver.

The county planned to spend $2.65 a gallon in this year's budget. Many Augusta locations sit at $3.68 a gallon.

"It is tough," said fleet manager Ron Crowden. "Something has gotta give."

Law enforcement drains 60 percent of the current fuel budget.

"With the spike in burglaries we have to continue to patrol neighborhoods," said Weaver. "It is something that has to be done. We are in the process now trying to figure what is the best thing to do."

Fleet management told commissioners the fuel budget could dry up as early September. Weaver says the plan could be implemented in a matter of weeks. He says the department will not cut back on patrols.


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