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Archive for Tuesday, March 9, 1999

COUNTY PRIMED FOR FUEL BIDS

March 9, 1999

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Douglas County Commission Chairman Dean Nieder is tired of gambling with the money the county spends on fuel for its vehicles.

The last time it rolled the dice, the county lost, he said.

The county purchased 60,000 gallons of fuel for the sheriff's office last March for 70 cents a gallon and 35,000 gallons of fuel for the remaining county vehicles in October for 73 cents a gallon.

Because fuel prices have been falling since those purchases were made, the county could have purchased the fuel for closer to 60 cents a gallon on Friday, Nieder said.

"We don't ever want to do that again. We pay a lot of extra money to do business this way," he said.

Nieder said that if the price of fuel had risen over the last year, the county would be paying less than the market rate and could be considered a winner.

"I don't want to gamble with the county's money like that," he said.

On Monday, the commissioners voted to seek bids to supply the county's fuel based on a daily average wholesaler price called the Oil Producing Index Survey.

Instead of buying the fuel all at once, the county vehicles will be fueled as required, based on a price computed daily.

The county can buy gasoline and diesel fuel for less than the public because it doesn't pay 18.4 cents per gallon in federal tax.

Other options included buying the fuel by the truckload and storing it in county-owned tanks. But it would cost about $90,000 to bring those tanks up to standards.

Commissioners also discussed buying fuel from the city's tanks, but city staffers were concerned that they don't have enough capacity to serve both the city's and county's needs.

-- Kendrick Blackwood's phone message number is 832-7221. His e-mail address is kblackwood@ljworld.com.

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