The Gage County Board of Supervisors approved bids for fuel as well as rock and gravel at its meeting on Wednesday.
There were multiple bidders eager to provide the county’s supply of rock and gravel, but just one for fuel opened Wednesday morning.
Board member Terry Jurgens said that this year’s rock and gravel bids were different than previous years where the bids would come in twice a year.
“One difference this year, these bids are for the full year,” Jurgens said. “In the past, we've done spring and fall allocations.”
Years ago, he said, fuel prices could be pretty erratic and the price of rock delivery could vary from season to season.
The county also changed the time frame this year because previously, they never had enough time to have everything delivered in the fall, he said. Now, as rock and gravel allocations for townships around the county are completed in the spring, fall work can begin whenever the townships are ready to start on it.
The board accepted and approved all bids, starting from the lowest bidder to the highest bidder for various grades of gravel, and the Gage County Highway Department will review the bids to create a spreadsheet to work from.
There was just one bid for the county’s fuel needs this year, and it came from Sapp Brothers Petroleum of Filley.
For 63,000 gallons of diesel 2, Sapp Brothers bid the county’s contract for $2.228 per gallon, which excludes federal and state taxes and comes to a total of $140,364. For 32,000 gallons of unleaded E10 gasoline, Sapp Brothers quoted a price of $2.358—which included state tax but not federal tax—for a total of $75,456.
The county moved to a system of locking in a price for fuel seven years ago, Jurgens said. Back then, prices of fuel were fairly volatile and could spike above $4 a gallon.
“There's years where it's good and years where it's not,” he said. “I think this has treated us pretty good on the seven years we've been on.”
It’s a guess as to what gas prices will be in the future, he said, but typically, you know about where the market will be. But it is a commodity, he said, and even in the case that something happens which causes a spike in fuel prices, the price is locked in for the year.
Board member Gary Lytle said that going back to the pay-as-you-go model could be a possibility some time in the future. With increased U.S. production and oil exports, the game has changed a bit and the price of gasoline has remained relatively stable for a while now.
“I don't think the volatility is probably as much of a risk as what it has been in the last seven or eight years,” Lytle said. “At some point, let's see how this year goes, but at some point, we might want to look at going back to having flexibility of buying as we go again. But, this has paid off for us the last seven years.”