Fuel prices pose a challenge for county’s budgeters

NORWICH – County legislators are concerned about what they called “drastic” and “astounding” price increases for oil and gasoline coming through several government departments this year.

Sheriff Thomas Loughren told his standing committee in June that he “can’t get over” the price for fuel. “We are watchdogging our budget; we have conservation as our goal,” he said, adding that deputies are starting to double up in cars heading for court appearances.

Mental Hygiene Director Mary Ann Spryn said gasoline prices have kept some clients from coming to therapy, thereby lessening revenues. Increased cost of living expenses couldn’t come at a worse time for the department as it is already faced with substantial shortfalls from 2007.

Planning and Development Director Donna Jones said some businesses have reverted to four-day work weeks to help their employees save on gasoline.

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