City of Yakima feeling the pain at the pump - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

City of Yakima feeling the pain at the pump

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Consumers are struggling with rising fuel costs whether it's at the pump or the grocery store.  But the public sector is feeling the pinch as well.  The city of Yakima is dealing with the same issues as its residents. 

It's an unbudgeted expense, that could go on for who knows how long. This morning the city manager said if gas prices continue like this, they could potentially drive up the city's costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

One area that would be affected is transit.  But since higher gas prices will likely lead to more people taking the bus, the transit costs may break even. 

However two places where there's no way to re-coup fuel costs are police and fire... The city's biggest gas consumers.

"The police cars are heavily technology dependent.  You used to be able to stop them from idling but you can't do it today or all the electronics shut off.  That's a fixed cost even though it's going up.  Something else in the budget is going to have to offset that, says Zais.

The city cut $2.6 million last year and Zais says there's not much room for belt-tightening.  He also said they'll keep an eye on gas use for the next couple of weeks and decide if budget adjustments or dipping into reserves have to happen from there.