Township looks into fuel security system

| 12 Apr 2012 | 01:13

WEST MILFORD — The township is looking into security measures for its five gas and diesel pumps in the township.

Back in December, Councilman Mike Ramaglia suggested the township look into providing some sort of security and accounting for the gas pumps that supply fuel to township vehicles, including police cars, Department of Public Works vehicles, fire and emergency vehicles. His fellow council members and Mayor Bettina Bieri agreed, Bieri gave the task to Ed Steines, the township’s Office of Emergency Management coordinator, fire marshal and senior road superintendent of the Department of Public Works. Steines did some homework and recommended a system from Gasboy to the council last week.

There are’t many vendors of gas security systems, Steines said. But he did find one from Gasboy that he thinks would suit the township’s purpose. The system would work like this: every person allowed to pump gas into the township vehicles would have a key fob that would activate the pump. The fob would contain information identifying the person using it. All the information would be recorded each time fuel is pumped and records would be kept on how much and how often it occurred. Steines said the township could also put limits on certain fobs, only allowing a certain amount of fuel to be pumped in a specific time period.

“This would definitely give us more security and allow us to keep track better than we are now,” Steines said.

Keeping accountable There are six gas and diesel pumps in five locations throughout the township: one gas pump at the police department, one gas and one diesel pump at the Department of Public Works building, and three diesel pumps at the three DPW satellite locations. Those pumping gas have a key for the pump. There is no other security on any of the pumps, according to Steines, which means there is no way to keep track of who is pumping fuel into which vehicles and how often.

“There are no accusations being made,” said Steines. “It’s just a way to keep accountable.”

Bieri agreed and said this isn’t a new recommendation. The council budgeted $85,000 back in 2008 for this purpose. The money is sitting there; the ground work just was never done.

“For a variety of reasons, sufficient research had not been performed by the staff at the time so it wasn’t done,” said Bieri. “We thought it should have been a priority. It was money well spent.”

That’s why Bieri moved on Ramaglia’s recommendation and asked Steines to look into it now. And with fuel so expensive, she thinks it’s a good idea to have a handle on just how much is being used.

“We’re not insinuating there’s anything going on but there need to be controls,” said Bieri. “The government is responsible to the taxpayers and that includes being accountable.”

Old system The pumps currently in place need replacing, Steines said, so the timing of this is right. He suggested the council replace the main pumps at the DPW headquarters as well as the one at police headquarters for now. That would cost an estimated $74,000 with this new system. And the money has already been allocated for it back in 2008. To replace the other three would be about $36,000 each. And that cost is under state bid, which means the state has already found the best pricing.

The council agreed with moving forward on this but asked that Steines look into other companies before committing to this one. He said he is hoping to bring more information to the council in the next few weeks.

Big fuel budget The township buys fuel through the Morris County Co-op at a reduced price than the public. The Messenger was not able to get figures for the amount of money spent by the township on fuel in 2011 by press time.