Mount Gilead Commissioners Questioned on Fuel Purchases

Mount Gilead Town Commissioners met last night. Part of their agenda was a presentation on the purchase of fuel for town vehicles, including police cars, fire trucks and public works equipment.

Local resident George Knight addresses Mount Gilead Town Commissioners at their meeting on May 14, 2013. (Johnny Almond photo)

Local resident George Knight addresses Mount Gilead Town Commissioners at their meeting on May 14, 2013. (Johnny Almond photo)

The presentation was made by local resident Ron Kincaid, who heads up the TRUTH Committee, a group of citizens who meet to discuss issues surrounding town government. The TRUTH Committee and others have expressed concern about the town’s decision to purchase fuel at Swift Island BP on N.C. Hwy. 24/27, instead of buying it in Mount Gilead.

Kincaid questioned earlier estimates regarding the potential for savings at Swift Island, and also expressed concern about the amount of time spent by town personnel traveling to the station for fuel. He laid out several calculations about time, wages, taxes and the impact on taxpayers.

“Purchasing gas out of town does not appear to be cost effective or justified,” said Kincaid. “We need to put forth our best efforts to keep our costs down for the citizens of Mount Gilead.”

Ultimately, Kincaid concluded with two main questions for Commissioners.

He asked, “How many gallons of gas are we using a month? Are we using 1,500 or 2,000 gallons a month to total 40,000 gallons (per year) at 50-cent savings? Number two: Is 50 cents a gallon what we’re saving, or is it 10 cents a gallon, or two dollars a gallon? I don’t know.”

As Kincaid questioned the board about the situation, Commissioner Vera Richardson asked that the town be afforded an opportunity to gather some information before responding.

“As you gathered your information, I would expect you to let us gather our information and get back with you,” Richardson said.

Town Manager Katrina Tatum said town employees often plan their refueling stops to coincide with trips they make to points closer to the gas station. Tatum also indicated that some research has been done regarding fuel efficiency and performance using different brands and additives in various equipment owned by the town.

Mayor Patty Almond asked the board to reach a conclusion to the fuel issue at its next regular meeting, set for Jun. 11.

In the public forum portion of last night’s meeting, George Knight spoke about the need for unity and reconciliation, and former Mayor Jim Haithcock talked about tax rates and economic development. All of last night’s town business can be heard in a rebroadcast of the entire meeting. It will air tonight at 9:00 p.m. and again Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on WMTG.

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