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Soaring fuel costs balooning county's public works budget

WARRENSBURG Commuters are not alone in having their budgets strained over soaring fuel prices. The Warren County Department of Public Works, which has a fleet of vehicles on the road and racks up hundreds of thousands of miles annually, is also feeling the pinch. County Public Works Superintendent Bill Lamy estimated this week his 2008 fuel budget of about $300,000 would be $165,000 short. And Wednesday, the county Finance Committee voted unanimously to transfer $165,000 from an unappropriated road machinery fund balance to cover this projected shortfall. The financial gap is not entirely due to boosted fuel prices, Lamy said. The length and severity of snow storms this past winter and early Spring caused a large share of the fuel budget woes, he said. We plowed a lot of snow from January through April, he said. Lamy said that there were no easy ways for the Dept. of Public Works to cut fuel expenditures without compromising services expected by the public. It would be up to the county Board of Supervisors to cut back on the snow plowing which accounts for the greatest consumption of fuel in his department, he said.

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