Lisbon officials trying to figure out big hike in fuel usage

LISBON – Village officials are troubled by a significant increase in gasoline usage by water and sewer department employees.

The issue was raised at Tuesday’s village Board of Affairs meeting, with Chairman Carol Petrachkoff noting gas consumption in the water and sewer departments has become “astronomical.”

According to figures provided by the BPA, department gasoline usage increased by 29 percent last year, going from $5,634 in 2011 to $7,889 in 2012. Gasoline bills have nearly doubled during the first two months of 2013, totalling $1,257 compared to $697 during the same period last year.

Meanwhile, gasoline usage in the police and street departments decreased in 2012.

“I don’t know what the answer is. We’re not plowing snow and we’re not the police department” patrolling the village around the clock, Petrachkoff said.

Village Fiscal Officer Tracey Wonner said all departments purchase their gas at the Circle K, so the rate is the same for everyone.

“It’s not fluctuating that much,” Wonner said of gasoline prices. “It’s the gallons you use.”

The water and sewer departments have two pickup trucks and an old police cruiser used by the four employees for work, but they are not allowed to take them home.

Lisbon keeps credit cards on file at Circle K for employees to fuel up village vehicles, but the BPA employees are not required to sign off on the cards. As a result, Wonner said they have no way of knowing which vehicles are being filled up or by whom.

In contrast, Lisbon’s police officers are required to advise the dispatcher when they are filling up a cruiser and also provide the mileage so the number can be logged.

The BPA then went into executive session to further discuss the issue

as it relates to possible disciplinary action against employees. They returned to regular session about 10 minutes later, with Petrachkoff saying no disciplinary action would be taken, “but we’re not ruling that out.”

The BPA then voted to designate worker Paul McCarthy a supervisor, and he would answer directly to Mike Ours, the chief water plant operator and overall water/sewer supervisor.

The BPA also instructed Ours to come up with a form to fill out when gasoline is purchased, with workers required to log the mileage and verify who was making the purchase and for what use.

“I mean we’ve got to get a handle on this,” Petrachkoff said.

In other action at the meetings, Ours reported the engineering firm for the West High Street project has been instructed to determine how much it would cost to include replacing the existing waterline with a larger line. This would increase water volume to the area, which includes the junior-senior high school.

Ours also reported workers found the source of a major leak on North Jefferson Street that was resulting in the loss of 80,000 to 100,000 gallons per day.