By Joel Hall
Like many businesses impacted by the growing gas shortage in Georgia, Clayton County is cutting back.
The county announced on Friday that it would discontinue its grass cutting services on its roads and highways until gas supplies are more ample.
Wade Starr, director of the Clayton County fleet maintenance department and the person in charge of purchasing gas for county vehicles, said "the situation with gasoline here is serious."
"Just like many of the service stations, we are having a difficult time, so we are conserving and cutting back on nonessential services," said Starr. "Mowing services is one of those things that we don't have to do."
Starr said the major reason the county is suspending its mowing services is to ensure its public safety operations are not hindered.
"Our main concern is to make sure that police, the fire department, and EMS [paramedics] have enough gas to operate," said Starr. "Right now, the availability is uncertain for us. As a result of it, we are asking departments to conserve in any way they can.
"We have to put the highest priority on protecting lives and protecting property," said Starr.
Starr said he was uncertain how long the county would have to suspend the mowing service, but he said gas will be used sparingly until the nation's oil refineries are operating at full capacity.
"We don't want to discontinue that service any longer than necessary," said Starr. "As soon as we re-establish a dependable level of gasoline, we will re-establish that higher level of service."