Russell Springs buys land for new city hall, works to save fuel
In July 17-23 issue By Derek Aaron Times Journal Reporter
RUSSELL SPRINGS - Mayor Hollis DeHart gave detailed insight on the high cost of fuel prices and what the city's departments can do to lessen its economic strain during this month's City Commission meeting.
"About two months ago, I asked each department head to reduce their gas consumption by approximately 20 percent," DeHart said, adding that he expects fuel prices to continue increasing in the coming months.
Commissioner Richard Wooldridge, who heads the city's water and sewer department, said his department runs only on the money it takes on and is not tax funded.
"With proper management, consolidation of services, route changes and excellent supervision by our Public Works Director, Terry Russell, he has cut in the last month alone miles driven from 12,859 miles to 8,333 miles," Wooldridge said. "That is a difference of 4,466 miles at an estimated savings of $1,694.80 in fuel."
He said it cost the city an average of $17.20 for employees to drive all water and sewer vehicles home daily.
"(The savings were) accomplished as a team effort and I credit all employees, including the office employees, for the cooperation and working willingness to save costs in such hard and trying times," Wooldridge said.
"The water and sewer department have cut their fuel consumption by 32 or 33 percent," he said. "The police department is working hard to cut their consumption."
DeHart said that in a continuing effort to curb expenses, he suggested that the city no longer purchase Crown Victorias as police cruisers because of the significant amount of fuel they use. and I have looked at Malibus, Prius, Impalas and Nissans because our budget this year contains money sufficient to purchase two vehicles," he said.
DeHart said while he preferred the Nissan for police cruisers, the issue over what vehicles to purchase is still "up in the air."
"I hope it doesn't become necessary for us to take more drastic steps, but I want the community to be assured that if we determine the cost is getting prohibitive on feuling of vehicles, we will take steps to help alleviate the problem," DeHart said.
In other happenings at the meeting—
• DeHart spoke a few minutes on the upcoming transition of the city's type of government from a commission-style to a council form of government.
"For years now, this city has operated as though it was three or four different cities with each department feeling as if it stood alone," he said. "Some departments generate funds through fees, monthly charges for products or services."
He said other departments, without directly mentioning which ones, were a "100 percent drain" on the city because they raise no money.
"That is not anyone's fault," he said. "That is the very nature of government."
DeHart went on to say that he had never worked with a finer group of people than on the current commission.
"Every commissioner up here has been extremely cooperative with me and I want to thank each of them for that," he said.
He said the main problem in the past with some of the city's dilemmas was the form of government.
"As you know, we will be entering into a new form here in just a few months and its going to take some adjustment on all of our parts," DeHart said.
After a public vote last year, the city's form of government will return to the council format with a single head, the city mayor.
• Parks Commissioner Ray Barrett said the city park had been the site of a Little League baseball tournament with teams from several area counties participating. He said around 3,000 people came to Russell Springs for the tournament, patronizing local businesses and restaurants.
• The commission moved to name the street in between Sullivan Street and Pickett Avenue "Crystal Spring Lane."
• The city moved to purchase the "Peck Property" for $25,000.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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