05/05/05 — Goldsboro feels pain in increased gas cost

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Goldsboro feels pain in increased gas cost

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on May 5, 2005 1:49 PM

Hate to fill up your gas tank these days? The city is feeling your pain a thousand-fold.

Goldsboro buys 8,000 gallons a week, both for its own fleet's needs and those of the Goldsboro-Wayne Transportation Authority.

Those bills came due Monday as the Goldsboro City Council was forced to move $115,000 from savings into this year's budget to help cover the rising cost of fuel. That money is needed simply to get the city through June, the end of the fiscal year.

Higher fuel costs are a factor in the city's 2005-06 budget, which calls for a 5-cent increase in the property tax rate.

When the city planned for this year's fuel costs, it was paying less than a dollar a gallon for fuel, said General Services Director Joe Sawyer. Now the city is paying $1.65 per gallon for unleaded and $1.77 for diesel.

The city doesn't have to pay taxes that regular motorists do.

On average, Goldsboro buys 5,500 gallons of unleaded and 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel per week to supply its own vehicles and Gateway. The transit system does reimburse the city at its cost, but that money goes back into the city's general fund, not the fuel account, Sawyer said.

City officials now believe fuel costs next year will be around $472,000, or about double this year's numbers.

The spike in gasoline prices affects many parts of the budget, City Manager Joe Huffman said. If the city contracts for a street to be repaved, that company is going to charge more because of its fuel prices. If the city hires consultants, they will have higher travel expenses, he said.

The City Council also agreed to add $70,000 to the amount budgeted this year for legal services.

City Attorney Tim Finan told the board his firm has had numerous, out-of-the-ordinary expenses this year. For example, the firm billed $10,200 for 125 hours between January and March that were accumulated due primarily to the annexation debate.

The lawyers also were heavily involved with the city's unified development ordinance, which overhauled a large section of city codes dealing with subdivision and commercial building regulations.

The city sought legal advice when it filled a vacancy on the City Council last year and again when it hired a new city manager this year.

None of the council members raised questions about Finan's expenses.

In other business, the council:

*Rezoned two acres that are part of the former Wayne Motel property from residential to general business.

*Rezoned a half-acre lot on Miller Street, between Meadow Street and Country Lane, to allow a mobile home.

*Rezoned a .8-acre lot at the southeast corner of Hines Drive and New Hope Road to allow duplexes.

*Rezoned 3.5 acres on the west side of Slocumb Street, near Harrell Street, as neighborhood business. Goldsboro Enrichment Center wants to attract a supermarket to serve that area.

*Amended a special-use permit for a used-car lot at the northwest corner of North William nd Holly streets so the owner can add a garage.

*Approved a site and landscaping plans for Dr. Deborah Barsan's dental office on Graves Drive, between Berkeley Boulevard and Malloy Street, provided the building is moved farther away from Graves Drive.

*Honored retired city employee Charlie Bass Jr. with a resolution of appreciation.