Like many businesses and motorists, Mobile County is currently seeing significant savings from plummeting gasoline prices, and some employees are asking commissioners to use those savings to expedite a 2.5 percent pay raise scheduled to take effect in April.
Lt. Richard Cayton, of the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, addressed commissioners this morning and asked that they consider moving the planned raise ahead two months to the first pay period in February. To support his claims, Cayton presented some figures based on the fuel prices at the county’s pumps in 2013 and 2014.
According to Cayton, the county was paying $2.71 a gallon for regular fuel and $3.08 for diesel fuel in December of 2013, but only paid $1.73 for regular and $1.97 for diesel during the same period in 2014.
“The county buys roughly 100,000 gallons a month to fuel the fleet, therefore there’s a rough savings of around $100,000 a month,” Cayton claimed. “If the commission was to use that savings to start the 2.5 percent raise in February, that would be four extra pay periods, and I don’t think it would be that much.”
Cayton said the MCSO alone uses 27,000 gallons a month, and with five-year low fuel costs, is saving approximately $28,000 a month. Those numbers are how he came up with the $100,000 figure he claims the county may be saving.
However, county officials weren’t prepared to give any specifics on savings they might be seeing from lowers fuels prices, which for everyday motorists are currently averaging around $1.99 per gallon for regular gasoline.
Michelle Herman, director of finance, said she wasn’t prepared to address the costs of implementing the raise sooner at the meeting. However, in an email to commissioners, Herman later said it would cost “approximately $125,000 to $130,000 more per month.”
Commission President Connie Hudson said the annual revenues for 2014 and for the first quarter of 2015 would have to be collected and analyzed to give commissioners a better idea of what monies they have to work with. Herman said those figures might be available in mid February at the earliest.
“The year-end report should be available to discuss with commissioners in the next couple of weeks,” Herman said. “The first quarter report will not be available until mid february or later because we have the 30-day lag on revenues. The December revenue will be collected in January, and then we’ll get a report in February with our first quarter report following that.”
The commission has yet to take any action on Cayton’s request, though a meeting with the finance department to review 2014 revenues has been scheduled for last next week.
This post has been updated to correct the price paid for diesel in December 2014.