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City may join new fuel co-op

COVINGTON - City of Covington officials are considering participating in a newly formed fuel cooperative that could save local governments hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel costs.

Members of the North Georgia Fuel Cooperative are trying to reduce the cost of purchasing 24 million gallons of unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel a year for government vehicles.

Fourteen local agencies have been named as participants, including the city of Covington, but officials said the city's involvement is not set in stone.

"We have been in communication with a large and growing group of agencies and local governments who may already be participating as a fuel purchase co-op," City Manager Steve Horton said. "However, we have made no actual commitment at this time to be in the co-op. We will need a little more information, and we need to discuss this with the elected officials before we make any final decisions."

Utilities Director Bill Meecham said "The idea was that a combination of a number of government entities would help obtain a better price and, quite importantly, alternate sources of fuel in a supply shortage. We came upon this later than some participants, so we're still evaluating it. We do, however, plan to ask the council's thoughts because it should be beneficial."

Gwinnett County officials spearheaded the cooperative and announced Thursday the county would begin seeking bids on fuel.

They said the agreement would provide for cooperation in times of gas shortages. Officials said Gwinnett County alone could save $100,000 and smaller jurisdictions could save even more.

Other governments reported to be participating are Fulton County; Cobb County and its school board; DeKalb County and its school board; Forsyth County; Jackson County; and the cities of Atlanta; Gainesville; Marietta; and Smyrna.

Gwinnett Daily Post Senior Writer Camie Young contributed to this story.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.