Fuel prices mean cutting Angelina County's budget

Fuel prices have remained at just around $4.00 a gallon in Angelina County, but county Auditor Eddie Gray says that doesn't mean anyone was ready for it.

"We were working on 2008 budget when gas was 2.00 a gallon and now look at it. If it's this high, who knows what it will be next year, but obviously we have to address the fuel costs for next year."

Which is what commissioners are doing right now, working on next year's budget while trying cut current costs.

"Considering and coming up with ideas on how to conserve fuel for the rest of the year and stretch the budget as much as possible," says Gray.

Sheriff Kent Henson says they've already started to conserve, "We've got men riding two man units instead of single man units because we are cutting everything we can cut and every penny and we are still looking for ways to save."

The rest of the county is too.

"At the airport, part of their fuel is for mowing so now they are not going to mow as often.  There are dumpsters at the barns, so we'll not be emptying those as frequently and not everyone in the maintenance department needs to take a vehicle home," says Gray.

The goal is to cut back on costs, without compromising quality.

"It affects everything. The cost of fuel has affected the cost of food, and everything that we do.  But at the same time, we've got to provide a service and we're going to continue to provide a service," says Henson.

They say it's going to be a lot tougher from now on, but they will crack down.

"We've got to. It's taxpayer's money and not only that; it's the same in a household budget.  Everybody's trying to save every penny," says Henson.