“We have eight parks which get mowed, anywhere from a one half acre park to 16 acres,” said Centerville City Administrator Mark Statz. “Then of course city-owned property like city hall, the fire station and public works.”
All that lawn gear runs on gasoline, and with gas now above four dollars a gallon, Centerville recently agreed to increase what it pays a mowing contractor by five percent. The fuel adjustment clause was part of a contract signed three years ago to help cover expenses when gasoline spikes above the four dollar mark. It adds up to a $2,043 increase for the season, so by itself, it’s not a huge expense.
“Right now we’ve not had a request from another contractor other than the mowing one to look at their price structure,” said Statz. “But we anticipate that if prices stay above four dollars a gallon for an extended period of time, we’ll probably have those conversations with a few of our other contractors. But so far it’s only the mowing one, and that’s because it’s gas intensive.”
Statz says it’s still less expensive to hire a contractor to mow rather than have city crews do it. There’s also a silver lining in being a city with a smaller footprint.
“You know our Public Works Department our Fire Department, we don’t put a lot of miles on. So that’s good for a lot of things in our city as far as wear and tear on trucks and our insulation from gas prices.”
For Chris Paige, who runs PJ’s Grill Food Truck, filling up a 35 gallon tank got a lot more expensive.
“Right now its working out to 130 140 bucks, it’s gotten to be a lot.” said Page.
Page is looking forward to a busy food truck season, but he’s staying closer to home when possible.
“We try to stick closer to the north metro now. We’re trying to stick closer to where we are based, if the job is right, we’ll go somewhere else,” said Page. “Now we’re finding a lot of times we have to add a gas surcharge on top of what we’re already charging. With inflation being what it is, prices are already going up, so it does cause a bit of a struggle.”
What’s more, the propane gas the truck uses for the grill and the generator is also more expensive these days.
If you’re traveling over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, expect to pay more to get there. Despite record high gasoline prices, Triple-A predicts nearly five percent more people will be driving than last Memorial Day weekend. That’s despite a jump in prices from $2.83 a gallon in Minnesota, last year to an average of $4.11 this year. Higher prices are not keeping travelers at home. Here’s another way to look at it. The Triple-A estimates a round trip from the Twin Cities to Duluth will cost about $50 for gasoline for a vehicle getting 25 miles to the gallon.