Franklin to explore creating diesel fuel station

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FRANKLIN — Franklin may not have to travel to Hardyston to fuel their heavy equipment for much longer, as the borough council decided to look into a project that will bring a diesel fuel station into the borough.

As the Borough Council voted to upgrade the fire house to natural gas last fall, the building’s 550-gallon heating oil tank is soon to be obsolete. Franklin Fire Department member Jim Williams presented a plan to the council at Tuesday’s meeting to make the unused tank a positive for the borough.

Aside from color, Williams said, heating oil is the same as diesel fuel. Instead of letting the tank “basically become useless,” he proposed converting it to a pumping fuel tank. With that installation, diesel equipment operators won’t have to drive to Hardyston to refuel — a 30 to 45-minute trip Williams said he has made many times.

“It wastes a lot of time and puts extra miles on the trucks,” he told the council.

Vehicles affected include all fire apparatus, four public works trucks and ambulances. In addition to these issues, Hardyston charges a 10-cent per gallon surcharge to Franklin units who use their fuel.

The first bid for the tank upgrade came in at over $6,100. Williams suggested using money the fire department received after Hurricane Sandy to fund the project.

“I think we could easily recoup this in miles driven, time lost, and the savings on the surcharge,” he said.

Councilman Nick Giordano did some quick math to back up Williams’ claim.

“In manpower costs alone, the conversion would be paid for in less than 15 months,” he said. The savings on the surcharge would cut that timeline back even more.

Councilman Gilbert Snyder was on board for the idea, but wished there was room to add a gasoline tank to service the rest of the borough’s fleet — a notion which has been brought up a few times over the years. The lack of room for another tank would make that impossible, however.

The borough CFO will need to get more bids and the plan will need to be drawn into a resolution before any action can be taken.

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