Aransas County commissioners, at their regular meeting Monday, May 11, viewed a PowerPoint presentation by Chris Randall about the fuel system used by the county, and later in the same meeting approved the low bid of D&H United Fueling Solutions ($79,229.04) for new fuel pumps and fuel management software systems. The bid includes an $800 annual fee, with the first five years included in the bid.

The expense for the new equipment, software, and needed electrical work is not in the county’s current budget, but funds from the certificates of obligation issued in 2016 will be used to pay for it.

Randall noted the current system is not working properly, and can’t be repaired.

County vehicles, as well as all Fulton Volunteer Fire Department and Aransas County Council on Aging vehicles, utilize the county’s fuel facility.

At the commissioners’ March 11 meeting, Randall said about 15,000 gallons of gasoline and 7,000 to 10,000 gallons of diesel are pumped each month.

The primary reason for going to the court with this request at the March 11 meeting was one of the fuel control heads at the fuel facility went down, and it couldn’t be replaced because the company no longer manufactures that equipment.

Randall said all reports were being done by hand, similar to the way it was done before the current system was put in place.

Since the March 11 meeting, a second fuel control head went bad.

The current fuel system is 20 years old.

At Monday’s meeting Randall said, “We don’t have a reliable way to track gas. It takes me about 30 hours worth of work each month to reconcile (the records manually).”

That extra work amounts to about $1,000 per month in overtime pay.

He also noted shrinkage is usually about 100 gallons per month, but without a properly operating system, that number has increased to about 400 gallons, or close to $900 per month.

Randall said on April 15 close to 60 gallons “went into something” and he can’t tell where it went with the two-step verification system inoperable.

“We gave away $100 in gas to something,” he said. “We don’t have a vehicle that holds that much.”

Commissioner Bubba Casterline asked Randall, “Can you install locks on the pumps?”

Commissioner Charles Smith asked, “Is there nobody monitoring (the pumps)?”

Randall said there’s no easy way to lock the pumps, and when the system was working there was no need to physically monitor the pumps. He also noted the gate is open during the day.

He also said the county has to provide accurate reports to the state comptroller, and that is hard to do with the current system acting temperamental.

Randall said, “Basically, the equipment is getting tired (and can’t be replaced).”

He noted the Gas Boy pumps/dispensers and fuel management system included in D&H’s bid are very reliable.

“We will be able to get parts for the next 20 years,” said Randall.

He projected the cost of not purchasing the new equipment would be approximately $57,000 per year.

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