Local governments adjust usage during fuel shortage

Published 4:30 pm Monday, September 29, 2008

Polk County

Polk County is cutting back on fuel consumption and county manager Ryan Whitson has asked all employees to use annual leave days in the next week and a half.

Whitson says he has told the department of social services to&bsp; make only protective service calls. He says he has also and grounded the Polk County Library&squo;s Bookmobile for the next week and a half. The county uses Fuelman cards and county employees have suffered the long lines at the BP with everyone else.

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Polk County Emergency Services Director Sandra Halford says ambulances have been parked to be used only for emergency calls. They have not been used to get supplies or for any other uses.

EMS has been polling gas stations daily to see which ones have gasoline and today only three out of 14 stations had fuel in the county. Halford also says she&squo;s looking into changing paramedics schedules to make it easier for them to get to work, such as through carpooling. She asked them to begin carpooling last week.

On assistance, Halford was out at Mill Spring yesterday helping direct traffic for gas station lines and all law enforcement and fire departments helped in areas last night.

Polk County Schools

Jim Patterson of Polk County Schools reports that the school system received this week a delivery of about 8,000 gallons of diesel, which has been a little more plentiful than regular gasoline. He says that delivery should last the school system about four weeks, while it also provides fuel for the local fire departments and the sheriff&squo;s office. The school system has not had to alter bus routes or school schedules to reduce consumption, although he says it has had a few employees who were unable to make it to work because they didn&squo;t have enough gasoline.

PC transportation

Polk County Transportation Director Jewell Carswell says she is curtailing mileage as much as she can and trying not to hurt people in need of transportation. The transportation department currently is running only its regular routes and making no extra trips from the routes. The department has cut use to only medical and grocery store trips, telling others they have to make provisions to get on the vans when they are making the regular route. Trips to the Meeting Place and transportation for people going to work are still available. Carswell says the department may not make its&bsp; next bi-monthly trip to Walmart because of the fuel shortage.

Sheriff&squo;s office

No one was available to comment on the effect of the fuel shortage on the sheriff&squo;s office. Abril and other ranking officers have been assisting Caldwell County this week with a manhunt related to the shooting of officers.


The city hasn&squo;t yet taken drastic action as a result of the gas shortage, but officials have discussed going to a four-day work week. The city&squo;s local gas stations have kept some gas saved for use in emergency vehicles such as the fire department.

&dquo;We&squo;re all in the mode of not doing any excess traveling,&dquo; said city administrator Erny Williams. The police department is not driving as many miles as normal and every department is not making any unnecessary trips or trips to the store for just one item.


Tryon Manager Dr. Jack Miller says the town prepared well after Katrina and the shortage hasn&squo;t had a huge effect on the town. Tryon has a number of diesel vehicles and there is currently no shortage of diesel. The police department has cut back some, such as not responding to calls out of their jurisdiction for assistance and cutting back any unnecessary patrols. The town has Fuelman cards and normally gets fuel from the Texaco, but this week town employees have had to go to Landrum or Columbus to refuel.

Other cutbacks have impacted the town garbage truck. The town is now taking the truck to the landfill only when it&squo;s full instead of after every pickup. The same goes for recycling.


No one was available at either Columbus Town Hall or the Columbus police department to comment on the effect of the gas shortage on the town. Columbus officers have been busy directing taffic at stations with gas.


Landrum officials say the city normally gets its fuel from BP but this week, to avoid the lines, city employees have gone to Spinx in Gowensville, where there have generally been no lines. City officers are cutting back a little on the miles driven per day, officials say, but they assure residents that the safety of the community is not being compromised.

District One Schools

Spartanburg County Schools District One has sufficient diesel fule supplies for its yellow buses and its actities buses. District officials say they are watching supplies carefully each week and ensuring efficient use of buses to minimize costs.