Gas Hikes Hitting County Fire Hard

``Petrol prices drive everything -- vehicle maintenance, delivery for parts, tires. The cost of our tires went up significantly this year," said Riverside County fire Deputy Chief Glenn Patterson.

The price of fuel is causing a lot of drivers to dig deeper into their pocketbooks, but it's also increasing operational costs for public safety agencies, including the Riverside County Fire Department, a spokesman said today.

"Fuel has hit us pretty hard,'' county fire Deputy Chief Glenn Patterson told City News Service. "Petrol prices drive everything -- vehicle maintenance, delivery for parts, tires.

"The cost of our tires went up significantly this year."

The fire department Tuesday submitted a cost allocation plan to the county Board of Supervisors indicating that in the 2012-13 fiscal year, the county and 20 cities' total shared administrative and support costs are expected to come to $36.5 million.

That's a 12 percent jump from the $32.5 million in 2011-12.

The board approved the plan without comment. The county contracts with the California Department of Forestry -- Cal Fire -- for fire protection services, and most incorporated communities within the county, in turn, contract with the county.

Outlays to maintain support staff who oversee payroll and purchase equipment are expected to go up, as well as outlays for dispatch services, communications gear, fleet repairs, the hazardous materials unit and the reserve firefighter program.

"The plan is developed under a worst-case scenario," Patterson said.

"We expect to be able to hold costs down. We only bill according to actual expenses. We hope to see costs level out."

Current short-term factors weighing on gas prices include refinery outages and the switch-over from summer to winter blend fuel.

Because it has its own highly regulated blend of gasoline, California doesn't pipe in product from other states, further constraining supplies.

Longer-term factors weighing on petrol prices could be harder to predict.

Patterson told CNS that by February, county fire officials should have a handle on whether operational expenses will actually hit the $36.5 million predicted for the current fiscal year.

Cities are billed directly for fire protection services and for some additional expenses, including electricity to power fire stations and keep them in working order.

However, the leftover costs are spread among municipalities and the county.

About 1,050 Cal Fire personnel work for the county, while the county directly employs 200 fire department staffers, including accountants, mechanics, payroll administrators, public information officers and others.

Net October 06, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Just watch as the gas prices will fall drastically as it gets closer to election time, the next two debates on the 16th and the 22nd, Obama or Romney may address the issue on what the oil industry is up to. They fake that their refineries need work and then blame QE3 and supply levels that are supposedly down. Only to jack up prices is such a sham. They'll spill oil and have to pay out big fines to clean up and have the consumers fork out out the bill for their mess and equipment fixes when they're already making money hand over fist.
john October 06, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Everything went to shit when Bush took office and he lacked the balls and know how to fix it. There is no quick fix Obama hasnt done any better to fix this mess he inherited and I doubt Romney will fix this. But we can start by getting rid of this ridiculous special blend of gas we have to pay thru the nose just to get to work, these assholes who run the state dont worry about gas prices cause they dont pay for it. We the average Joe have to dig up loose change in the sofas just to get by this is getting ridiculous and dont blame illegal immigrants on this one this is all Washington and Sacramento.
Mr. Temecula October 06, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I cant wait for $10.00 a gallon gas. That way only those that should drive will and the freeways will be wide open!
Lash LaRue October 06, 2012 at 11:47 PM
President Barack Obama’s Energy secretary StevenChu, his Energy secretary, said in 2008 he wanted gasoline prices to get to the European level, which is $9 or $10 a gallon,” Has is that Hope and Change working out fotr you? Romneys says Drill here and Drill now.
JAH October 07, 2012 at 01:08 AM
My daughter is in her sophomore year of college living at home working full time and going to school full time. Now she is worrying full time about how she is going to afford to drive to school and work! It is time for change!!


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