Lower gas prices benefit school districts, police departments

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Gas prices have gone down significantly and everyone filling up at the pumps enjoys the savings.

Not only does it affect your budget, it also affects how far your tax dollars go. The money you pay in taxes puts gas in police cars and school buses. Those in charge of managing fuel budgets like what they see.

Stan Salmons, transportation director at the Valley View School District, said his department saves money when fueling more than 23 diesel school buses.

"That just stretches the budget a little farther," said Salmons.

When it comes to the yearly budget, the low prices compensate for when gas prices are higher. If prices are high, Salmons said they deal with it.

"We try to do the best we can," Salmons said. "Fortunately, it's fallen quite a bit now so that's good for all the taxpayers."

The Jonesboro Police Department is also saving money. Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliot said the yearly budget to fuel more than 160 police vehicles is $340,000.

"Certainly it helps on our budget," Elliot said. "We still have about a quarter of our fuel budget left for the year, so right now we are in great shape."

Regardless of the price, fuel is a necessity for both police cars and school buses.

"We have to do what we have to do," Elliot said. "We are here for a public service and we have to be able to get there."

The same goes for Valley View School District.

"We have to run them every day, and we have a lot of trips we run," Salmons said. "Both field trips and athletic trips."

Elliot and Salmons said any extra money left over at the end of the year can be carried over to next year's fuel budget. However, Salmons said he has never seen any money left over in his 27 year career.

"I don't think it will ever happen," Salmons said. "I'd like to see it, but usually fuel will go back up."

As long as the prices are low, Elliot and Salmons said they can't complain.

"We are going to get all we can, and just hope for the best and hope it stays down," Salmons said.

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