EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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July 15, 2014

Spending freeze dries up gas tank

LAWRENCE — The spending freeze Mayor Daniel Rivera recently put in place ended up costing the city a few bucks when the delay in processing purchasing orders that resulted caused the city’s 15,000 gas tank to bottom out — twice.

The tank drained to 800 gallons — when the pumps are cut off to avoid pumping the water and debris at the bottom — on a recent Friday, causing police to gas up their cruisers at the 7-11 convenience store next door to headquarters on Lowell Street.

The store charges $3.73 per gallon. The city pays less because it buys in bulk, but Public Works Director John Isensee could not say what it pays or what the two shutdowns cost the police or DPW budget.

The city’s entire fleet of vehicles — including police cruisers, firetrucks and public works and school vehicles — gas up at the pump at the DPW yard on Auburn Street. Because the most recent shutdown started on a Friday and ended with a delivery the following Monday, most departments beyond police were not affected.

The dates of the two shutdowns — the first in four years — were not immediately available yesterday.

“I’m still looking into it,” Rivera said yesterday about how the delay in processing the order for the gas caused the city to run out of gas. “At the end of the freeze, some of the processing got held up. It’s what happens when you’re looking at every dime.”

He added, “The extra spending on the fuel used was negligible compared to what was saved by the freeze.”

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