LINCOLN (AP) — Several city and county departments have seen their fuel budgets drop with unleaded gasoline below $2 a gallon at most Lincoln-area gas stations.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that several departments saw fuel savings of up to 50 percent during the first six months of this fiscal year. The savings will likely help these departments pay for other climbing costs, such as bridge and road repairs.

"It should benefit us as we try to finish out the year," said Dennis Meyer, Lancaster County budget and fiscal officer.

County departments spent $455,000 on fuel during the first six months of this fiscal year out of $1.4 million budgeted for the whole year.

During the first half of this fiscal year, the county engineering department spent $182,000 of $630,000 budgeted for diesel fuel for the entire year. The department also spent $70,000 on unleaded gasoline out of the $120,000 budgeted for the entire year.

All of the other county departments spent $68,000 on unleaded gas during the first half of this fiscal year. The budget for the entire year was $320,000.

City Superintendent of Facilities and Fleet Services Jim Chiles said his department, which sells fuel to city departments, spent $315,000 during the first half of this fiscal year of the $1.8 million it had budgeted for fuel.

"It's nice to see fuel prices down for a change," Chiles said.

He said any savings in fuel costs won't translate to extra funding for his department. Instead, city departments that pay his department for fuel will keep their savings.

Ron Bohaty, county shop supervisor, said county engineering will consider reallocating any unspent fuel funds for bridge and road repairs that remain to be completed after flooding in May.

"It's nice to see fuel prices down for a change."

Jim Chiles, superintendent, Facilities and Fleet Services

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