Cliff Keheley

As materials and fuel costs continue rising, the city of Mesquite is planning ahead.

Since fuel costs have been on the rise, City Manager Cliff Keheley said the city has been watching its expenses. While city staff initially planned on seeing fuel costs returning to lower rates, the city has begun preparing for continued inflation.

Because of the staffing shortage the city has experienced, Keheley said Mesquite has saved on fuel usage, as some cars sit idle.

“For example, Parks and Recreation is down 14 staff members,” Keheley said. “That's seven vehicles idling right now.”

Additionally, salary savings have also contributed to the city being able to cover inflated fuel costs, in addition to contracts and other resources.

While the city has some savings to help mitigate the impact of inflation on city services, Keheley said those savings are not going to last forever. Part of the city’s plan is to reduce trips for less essential services like transporting mail between city offices and sending parks staff to the city’s recreation centers.

“I think we're very concerned about this, and we've been watching for this,” Keheley said. “We made some early calculations early on so we wouldn't have to take drastic measures initially. We plan to start making a measured approach over the next few weeks.”

While non-essential trips are being reduces, services like public safety and other city services will remain at the same level that they have been operating.

“With public safety, we have not made any changes in how we respond,” Keheley said. “In our operations plan for these types of contingencies, public safety is the very last thing we would change. We have not reduced any services because of the gas prices.”

Winston Henvey is the reporter for the Mesquite News, Coppell Gazette and The Leader serving Carrollton, Flower Mound and Lewisville. Email him with story suggestions at whenvey@starlocalmedia.com.

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