Thursday, March 20, 2008

How high is the sky?

A little thought of consequence for high fuel prices is the possibility of cutting law enforcement coverage or cutting in other places to keep county budgets under some semblance of control.

High gas prices hurting Guadalupe County
Selena Hernandez: KENS 5 Eyewitness News

In Guadalupe County, rural life is a refreshing escape from the concrete jungle. Yet, it isn't an escape from reality.
Gas prices are on the verge of fueling the county's budget into overdrive.
"As gas prices climb, that might throw us into a bind," Sheriff Arnold Zwicke said.

Zwicke says it's costing the county about $22,000 a month to keep his fleet of 75 units running. That's already about one-third of his gas budget. With six more months of filling tanks to go, Zwicke says he's already thinking about alternative funding for fuel.
"We'll pull from reserves or we're going to have to cut other parts of our budget to allow money to go into the gas line," he said.

Zwicke says street patrols will not take a back seat to high gas prices.
"As prices rise, so will the theft rise, and we need to be out there taking care of business on a daily basis," he said.

So deputies will continue to work efficiently, saving gas and money when they can.
"There are some times when someone may just have a question about something that can be resolved over the phone," Zwicke said.

They all know not even Guadalupe County is immune to the pains at the pump.

Zwicke said drug forfeiture money has been used to equip patrol units with laptops so deputies don't have to drive back to the office to do paperwork.