NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches County's pug mill is going full speed ahead. The machinery mixes sand and oil for topping roads.
Each oil tanker is loaded with about $15,000 worth of oil. Two were emptied today in preparation of oil sanding hundreds of miles of county roads.
"We got several big projects we're currently working on," said Doyle Williams, road and bridge administrator. "Some of the gas roads, it might be a mile here, a mile there, where they created damages. That takes time to go in there and redo all those, so we're going to have to do that. We still going to be maintaining, blading roads, patching roads, mowing roads."
All that takes lots of fuel to run the heavy equipment. Commissioner courts across East Texas are met with the challenge of how to pay for it all.
"We're transferring some money and putting it into his gas budget," said County Judge Joe English during a court meeting.
A total of $70,000 was moved around into the road and bridge fuel account.
"Any body that drives a car realizes gas prices have gone way up,' said English. "Commissioners court budgeted for $2.20 gas. It was less than $2, actually, when we first started this last budget."
Today gasoline runs the county about $3.38 a gallon. Diesel is $3.20. It's less than what consumers pay at the pump, but consider how much counties buy. "We average $33-35,000 a month," said Williams.
Fortunately, more and more oil and gas related companies are reimbursing thousands of dollars to counties to pay for the damages left by heavy trucks. Nacogdoches County is choosing to use that money first.
There's another dilemma in counties where there's a lot of oil and gas activity. The roads may be repaired, but with drilling operations, it's only a quick fix. Frequent repairs can wear on equipment and budgets.