Farmington to join county’s fuel-savings program in 2013
Dry winter may offset higher gas prices in 2012
by Laura Adelmann
Farmington will join a Dakota County program next year that city officials expect will save money on diesel.
Starting in 2013, Farmington will join a consortium of government entities that use county fueling stations for diesel, paying a preset price that is locked by a state contract.
If the city had been part of the contract fuel program this year, the city would have saved $15,000, Farmington City Administrator Dave McKnight told city council members at a March 5 meeting.
To participate next year, the city will pre-order a set amount of fuel and is obligated to purchase 80 percent of the amount ordered.
If fuel costs rise, the city would see savings through the program, but if pump prices drop, the city would still pay the contracted rate.
It will also pay Dakota County 5 percent for administrative costs.
Parks and Recreation Director Randy Distad said city vehicles consume about 30,000 gallons of diesel annually.
In an interview, Farmington Finance Director Teresa Walters said the city last year spent $20,206 more on fuel than the $226,260 that was budgeted.
This year, the city’s fuel budget is $239,260, and spending is on track, Walters said.
Last year at this time, the city’s fuel bill was $22,197; this year, it is $17,951, almost a 20 percent reduction.
“This is a result of less driving, not lower gas prices,” Walters noted, adding that city staff is closely monitoring gas spending.
Even if gas prices continue to rise this year, the city may be able to absorb some of the expense by savings in snow-plowing costs.
Last winter, one of the snowiest in recent history, the city spent $100,000 on snow plowing by February.
So far this year, snow plowing has cost the city $21,356, Walter said.
Looking ahead, McKnight is wary about depending on continued dry weather to balance the budget.
“Our lack of snowfall so far this winter may be able to help out with this issue,” McKnight stated in an interview with Thisweek. “But remember we have two months of potential snowfall at the end of 2012 to cover as well.”
Laura Adelmann is at email@example.com.