With gas prices beginning to climb once again, the Dawson County Board of Education and the Dawson County Board of Commissioners plan to be ready in the event of another crisis.
The two parties have entered into an agreement to fund a joint fueling station at the county-owned Burt Creek Complex to cut down on fuel costs for both government agencies.
The project has been in the works for several years, but the fuel shortage last fall prompted officials to move the project closer to reality.
Public service personnel, including fire, police and emergency workers, waited in long lines to fill up their county cars when the gas shortage hit Dawson County last September.
“Last fall, when there was a fuel shortage, we were able to help out the county then,” said Dawson County School Superintendent Nicky Gilleland. The school system currently has a smaller fueling station at Riverview Middle School that it was able to continue to utilize during the shortage.
“We must be able to keep these emergency vehicles on the roads, protecting our citizens,” Gilleland said.
County Manager Kevin Tanner said the county was also able to talk several local gas stations into holding fuel in reserve for emergency vehicles to continue operation.
The joint fueling station will eliminate two problems, he said.
“First, we’ll have the reserves we need, and second we would see tremendous cost savings by buying wholesale, because we’ll be able to buy in larger quantities,” Tanner said.
Gilleland said the intergovernmental agreement between the school system and the county is a win-win for all involved.
“This is another opportunity for us to work together to better serve the community, improve relations and work together, while saving money for our citizens,” Gilleland said.
Tanner said the central location, which is within two miles from downtown, would be more convenient for public safety and transportation personnel. The county is also considering a fueling station at the new Station 3, which is set to open later this year on property next to Tractor Supply on Hwy. 53.
The joint station at Burt Creek Complex is anticipated to cost about $200,000, which would be split evenly between the county and the school system.
Tanner said the county would see an annual savings in fuel costs of $52,427, which would pay back the project in almost two years.
The board of commissioners approved the agreement during its Feb. 5 meeting. The school board voted to approve building the facility in January.
E-mail Michele Hester at michele@dawsonnews.