Hartnett: Gas prices will affect Westport's bottom line

Westport signs new delivery contract, and IRS increases mileage reimbursement rate

By Ted Hayes
Posted 7/1/22

Gas prices are hurting everyone, and the Town of Westport is no exception.

Town Administrator James Hartnett told the Select Board last Tuesday evening that with fuel prices rising 54 percent …

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Hartnett: Gas prices will affect Westport's bottom line

Westport signs new delivery contract, and IRS increases mileage reimbursement rate

Posted

Gas prices are hurting everyone, and the Town of Westport is no exception.

Town Administrator James Hartnett told the Select Board last Tuesday evening that with fuel prices rising 54 percent since September, "we will see quite an increase" and drain on the town's various fuel lines for police, fire and highway departments.

"Every community right now is facing high fuel costs," he said. "Hopefully we can cover it based on our existing budgets."

Things could have been worse, as he said the finance committee last fall increased fuel line items in the 2022-23 budget, anticipating some rising costs.

In addition to fuel costs themselves, the town will see a slight increase in the fees it pays for mileage reimbursement. The IRS recently increased its standard business mileage reimbursement rate from 58.5 to 62.5 cents per mile, and that will have a "slight impact on our budget (for) anyone that travels or puts in mileage requests," Hartnett said.

Finally, the select board on Tuesday improved a new contract for fuel delivery, with Dennis K. Burke Inc., the only bidder for the yearly contract, Hartnett said.

The Burke contract is just for delivery; the actual rate the town pays for the fuel itself is another matter, and is based on a regional rate index that changes weekly or even daily, Hartnett said.

"As that (index) changes the rate would change," he said. 

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