POUND RIDGE, N.Y. As gas prices soar past the $4 mark, municipalities such as Pound Ridge are keeping an eye on their fuel budgets, though Steve Conti, the towns director of finance, said it hasnt become a concern just yet.
At the beginning of each budget process, Pound Ridge department heads estimate how much fuel theyll need and give those figures to the highway department, which incorporates them into its fuel budget. The town has a state contract that enables it to get its fuel cheaper, thanks mostly to the fact that its not charged any taxes.
It is a budgetary concern, Conti said. The highway department buys the fuel and its charged to the general fund.
If the fuel budget Pound Ridge set aside $80,000 for this year goes over what was called for in the general fund, the money is then withdrawn from the contingency fund. The 2012 contingency fund has $120,000 in it. Conti said that, so far, the town has not had to dip into it.
Its possible that we could have to in the second half of the year, he said.
The town paid $2.95 a gallon for its last delivery in January, up from the $2.85 it paid for the previous delivery. Conti said its likely to rise again.
Im sure it will be higher, he said. But thats why we have a contingency fund.
Police Chief David Ryan said that his department cant really worry about gas prices because it has a job to do.
[Higher gas prices] dont really change the way we do things, he said. We still have to patrol. But we do carefully monitor it. If we think we are getting close [to going over budget] we will speak to [Steve Conti]. But Steve usually tells us if we are getting close. He makes us aware of where we are in the budget and we adjust where we can.
More fuel-efficient police cars may be one way to go, but Ryan said manufacturers have yet to build a hybrid model that would be suitable for patrol cars. However, there are some that may work well for other police duties.
Some agencies have tested them, Ryan said. The village in Pleasantville has an unmarked car that is a hybrid and I told them Id like to come down and take a look at it.
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