County, schools pooling fuel
As gas prices creep back up, commissioners are seeking a partnership with the board of education to save fuel costs on government vehicles.
The county would have access to two bus depots. The BoE would require a 2.5 percent administrative fee over its costs.
“This could save a bunch of money if we say no more Chevron,” Commissioner Pat Bowen said.
“So for years, we’re at commercial markets, buying gas at increased rate,” County Administrator Joey Brown said. “And we can start enjoying the almost immediate savings on gasoline, which will be great.”
Commissioner Donald Lovette praised public groups working together.
“It is a good move,” Chairman John McIver said.
Last week, the commissioners cut off its partnership with Coastal Georgia Community Action Agency to sign on with Senior Citizen’s, Inc. to run the center in James Brown Park.
The county has contracted with Coastal Georgia Area CAA for about 30 years, “going back to the days of Ms. Hazel Carter,” according to County Administrator Joey Brown.
More services for the elderly and fewer county dollars spent are expected with the switch in providers.
The county budgeted $25,000 under the current senior program. The SCI contract, which includes a $30,000 state grant, will obligate the county to $40,500. “Bottom line, it would require $15,500 more of us than we’re currently putting in,” Brown said.
Coastal Georgia’s program bid was $34,462. That proposal banked on getting $30,000 from block grants through Hinesville.
But Brown was leery of depending on funding that was not assured.
“That was another thing that was important to the committee,” Brown said. “Tell us about grants that you’re sure of. Don’t tell us about money you want to go and try to get.”
If assistance did not come through, the county would have to pick up the slack.
“Our budget is very tight as it is,” commission Chairman John McIver said. “And if we were to commit there [CGCAA] and can’t get the funding, then we are stuck with having to come up with the additional funds.”
SCI’s affiliation with the Coastal Georgia Regional Development Center was a bonus for the board.
As a state program, it would have to keep reports and be subject to evaluations.
“Coastal Georgia has been a good provider, but it simply does not have access to the state funds and simply can’t be as broad without some large supplement from the county,” Brown said.
SCI will begin operations July 1 for a year contract, as long as the provider picks up the seniors already getting service.
The county lost transportation for the seniors last November, according to Brown.
“We want to be able to accommodate those folks,” Brown said. “We don’t want them to see a change of service unless it’s for the better.”
Besides free transportation to the center, SCI will provide a three-day-a-week adult day care, planned activities and meals to cover 25 seniors.
“We want to see that grow because we know the need is greater than that,” Brown said.
Coastal Georgia Area CAA provided the same meal and activity services but it was the risk of a revenue shortfall that worried McIver.
“I got nothing against Coastal Action Authority…but it’s about providing services to our citizens that’s what we’re looking for,” McIver said.