“We’ve got to have fuel to be able to operate:” Local departments continue services with burden of high gas costs

DELAWARE– High gas prices a challenge many are dealing with right now from fire departments to local governments.

“We’ve got to have fuel to be able to operate and we have to be there for the community like we always are,” Gregory Hocker, President of the Millville Volunteer Fire Company, said.

Hocker said with sky rocketing gas prices comes an increase in spending.

“You know our EMS fuel alone this time last year we’ve spent $5,700 more than we have this time last year on the fire side,” Hocker said. “We have spent an additional $5,400 than we did this time last year; and propane costs have gone up as well right now. We are looking at roughly around $1,500 more than what we spent this time last year.”

Hocker said these costs add up, especially being a volunteer fire company, but that doesn’t mean they can just cut spending. Hocker said it would be nice if the state could come up with something for emergency personnel vehicles to try and take off the weight off the fuel costs.

“The average fire fighter takes about $7,000 to $10,000 in gear per firefighter,” Hocker said. “I mean its just some things you can’t scale back on, I mean there are some things companies can scale back on but it’s going to affect your operations majorly in the long run.”

Meanwhile, in Rehoboth, the City Finance Director, Burt Dukes, said gas prices aren’t impacting their operations and they have enough reserve in their budget.

“The dollar amount is not a significant portion of the total budget and so we have some electrical vehicles; but we do have trash trucks, and large vehicles that use a lot of fuel so it’s not good,” Dukes said.

But Dukes said where the city could feel a major impact is if sources of revenue decline.

“If I’m incorrect and there’s a significant slow down, tourism and visitors deciding to just stay home for the weekend and not come to the beach then, all bets off, then we’ve got a problem,” Dukes said.

Categories: Local News, Maryland