Covington City Council approves CNG truck purchase, fuel prices

COVINGTON —The city of Covington Street Department will soon receive a new compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle.

The City Council agreed unanimously to purchase the vehicle since the truck driven by the department manager was totaled about seven weeks ago after an 18-wheeler rear-ended the truck on Ga. Highway 142.

Deputy City Manager Billy Bouchillon said it would cost about $22,000 for a used truck and about $28,000 for a CNG vehicle.

Councilman Chris Smith noted in Monday’s work session that he recommended the CNG truck only if the Street Department manager “was on the road more.”

Bounchillon said the manager drives about 200 miles a week.

“The CNG vehicle for the Street Department would pay for itself in about 36 months,” said Randy Smith, city finance director.

The City Council approved to adjust the 2012-13 budget in order to purchase the new vehicle.

The council also approved the CNG pricing for the Green Fuel Facility which will open in about 30 days. City utility customers will receive a low price of $1.85 per gallon for the fuel.

“They will receive a key, similar to a Kroger shopping card, which will identify the established utility customers,” Smith said. “Those customers will receive a line item on their utility bill for the fuel.”

Smith said the city’s CNG vehicles and large volume customers will also receive a “key” to receive the special rates.

A large volume customer is one who uses at least 15 gallons a year and will pay $1.95 per gallon. Smith noted the prices should not change for the next 12 to 24 months.

There is an increasing demand for CNG stations, with companies like UPS, FedEx and AT&T operating portions of their fleets off compressed natural gas. Locally, Snapping Shoals EMC has a CNG station for its fleet.

According to the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia, Covington is the first Georgia city to build a public access compressed natural gas station and will likely be used as a model for similar facilities throughout the state. The City Council awarded the construction bid of more than $1.6 million at its July 15 meeting.

The council also approved after the fact the purchase of a $35,200 dump truck for the Electric Department. The truck was bought at the Georgia Power auction and a truck purchase was already set in the budget, Bouchillon said.