By AUTUMN HUGHES
Bradley County's government departments that use fuel pumps located at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office may soon see the price go up by a penny a gallon to cover maintenance to the pumps.
Bradley County's government departments that use fuel pumps located at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office may soon see the price go up by a penny a gallon, to cover maintenance on the pumps.
The subject of fuel pump revenue and maintenance was discussed Wednesday afternoon by the county's Law Enforcement Committee.
According to BCSO Finance Director Cassandra Burgess, the sheriff’s office sells gas to other county departments with sales recorded by assigned key cards. She explained to the committee in December that Collins Oil Company provides filters and maintenance on the pumps, but BCSO is responsible for the software and key card machine, which recently required approximately $3,000 in repairs.
Committee member Terry Caywood suggested the departments using the fuel pumps pay based on each department’s percentage of use.
Chairman Jeff Yarber asked if there is any concern about adding a half-penny or penny to the per-gallon cost of gas. Burgess said the BCSO can’t receive any money for maintenance until the expense reaches $100,000. She voiced concern that if a penny is added to the per-gallon cost and maintenance expenses don’t reach $100,000, then that additional cent per gallon would be considered revenue. Burgess said she doesn’t want it to seem like the BCSO is trying to make money on this.
Committee member Howard Thompson said it might be simpler to add a penny or two per gallon than to figure percentages.
“It’s paid up front,” he said, adding it can be kept up with in the budget.
Lorri Moultrie, executive administrative assistant to the county commission, said that is how the city of Cleveland handles this issue. She added a revenue line item could be set up to account for it.
Yarber asked Finance Committee Chairman Milan Blake if it would be feasible to add a penny to the per-gallon cost and set up a maintenance line item in the budget. Blake said it is feasible, but noted the burden will be on Burgess to keep up with the number of gallons pumped per department and arrange with Finance Director Rena’ Samples to transfer that penny per gallon to the budget line item.
Yarber said he sees that as a more viable option than using a percentage system.
Sheriff Eric Watson estimated other county departments have saved 30 cents per gallon by using the BCSO fuel pumps rather than going to a gas station.
“The biggest cost has already been paid for,” Watson said, referring to the key card system.
Caywood made a motion to add a penny per gallon to the cost of gas at the BCSO fuel pumps with a $5,000 cap on a new budget line item, and to remove the penny-per-gallon charge once the cap is reached.
Thompson seconded the motion, but voiced his concern to find out how many gallons were sold last year.
“We might have to add 2 cents to it,” Thompson said.
Yarber noted the committee “can always come back and readjust it.” The vote to pass the committee’s recommendation on to the full county commission was unanimously approved.
Blake pointed out that the cost of the key card maintenance issue the county just had is covered, and that the additional penny per gallon is for future maintenance.
The issue will now go before the full County Commission at its meeting at 7 p.m. next Monday, Feb. 5, at the Bradley County Schools central office at 800 S. Lee Highway.
In other business, the committee voted to recommend the county commission discuss establishing a policy to allow BCSO personnel to purchase their service weapons if they work 10 years for the BCSO and leave employment on good terms. The issue arose from Detective Matt Parris requesting that he be permitted to purchase his service weapon.
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