Spike in oil prices forces increase in road costs

ALBANY — Pain at the gas pump isn’t limited to public consumers. Oil prices are also driving up costs to the taxpayer as county officials say that they are largely to blame for an increase in road resurfacing costs.

Monday, Dougherty County Public Works Director Larry Cook told commissioners that the cost of 6.6 miles of resurfacing over a combined 18 roads in Dougherty County during the next year will cost more than $68,000 over what was budgeted.

Cook told commissioners that last year, the county paid $62 per ton for the asphalt road mix. That price has jumped to $72 per ton, largely because of the price of oil.

Cook recommended that the county award the $468,000 contract to Oxford Construction Company, the lowest bidder, despite being $68,000 above the budgeted amount for the projects, rather than cut roads off the list.

“We don’t want to get behind the curve,” Cook said. “So we’re recommending that funding be taken from SPLOST V and out of SPLOST VI.”

County Administrator Richard Crowdis said that the county has seen fluctuations in the price of resurfacing roads before, but never by this much over the course of one year.

“It’s the first time we’ve encountered this much of a difference,” Crowdis said.

Commissioner Jack Stone said that the county needs to find the funding rather than consider trimming the list.

“We just have some terrible roads out in the county that really need to be worked on,” Stone said. “We don’t need to cut it, not one iota.”