Call For Contract Mowers Goes Unanswered

Monday, May 19th 2008, 7:10 pm

By: News On 6

Tulsa County wants to hire out some mowing over the next year, but they received no bids on the job.   The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports county leaders think it's a reflection of unpredictable fuel prices.

Who knows where it's going?  That's the question on fuel prices, but for the county, the uncertainty isn't the most immediate problem because prices are already high.

There are no prices on the gas pumps at the county, but it's not because price doesn't matter.

Every time the county fills up a truck with diesel, the budget takes a hit from high fuel prices.

"We'll have to just deal with as it comes I guess, we don't know how much it's going up, we're in the dark I guess," said Danny Cosper, Tulsa County's shop foreman.

Just about every piece of equipment the county has runs on diesel and with it running above $4 a gallon, that's really eating into the county's budget.

The county saves a little by purchasing diesel in 6,000 gallon tanker trucks, but saves more because it's tax free.  The county saves 38 cents a gallon or $2,280 on each tanker load.

But, the county goes through fuel fast.  Each district has at least five tractors out mowing along the highway each day.  Other crews are mowing county parks, and it all comes right after a busier than usual winter spent cleaning up debris from the ice storm.

It's a double whammy for the county to keep fuel in all the tractors and other equipment.

"They're pretty good on fuel, but at $4 a gallon, it adds up fast.  The dump trucks, they get less.  They only get 6 to 8 miles a gallon," said Danny Cosper, Tulsa County's shop foreman.

The city government hires out far more of its mowing and the contract manager said they got several bids on their last contract, at what was seemed to be a good price.  But, the prices were higher than last year, reflecting the higher fuel costs.


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