By: Cierra Putman
FORT STOCKTON - Watching your phone minutes and changing your own oil, sounds like a small change but it's adding up to big savings in Fort Stockton.
In these economic times, the city is counting every penny and keeping track of every dollar.
"It's a sign of the times I guess," Public Works Director, Raul Rodriguez said. "When the economy is down, it's something you have to do to keep working."
The city is saving about $40,000 by cutting back on cell phone usage and restructuring their phone plan.
"Right not the main people within the field are the ones that have the cell phones," Manny Espino, assistant to the Finance Director, said. "Also we have some air cards that are mainly issued to our RO plan."
Rodriguez said he's saving a ton by buying fuel, motor and hydraulic oil in bulk.
"One of the biggest expenses in public works is fuel," Rodriguez said. "It has given us 40 to 60 cents per gallon (of savings) based on the pump price of the day."
Now city vehicles fuel up on site, and if they can't use city gas or diesel, they still have a way to save money.
If an emergency pops up after hours and a city worker isn't able to fuel up on site that's when they pull out gas cards. They save the city about 20 cents on the gallon.
Rodriguez said they've also saved about 40 percent by doing minor repairs and oil changes in house.
While it keeps the city in the black, there is a down side.
"When the economy is down local business look to the local people to help them out," he said. "By doing this, of course we take some of the work away from the local businesses and that's the unfortunate part."
Despite the city's efforts, Fort Stockton is still holding off on some big projects because of the economy.
City officials said the money they're saving allows them to handle any emergency that may come up.