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City, SCSD, fire dept. to share fuel depot

3,000 gallon diesel tank installed at public works
A 3,000-gallon diesel tank newly located at the Solon Public Works Building on Stinocher Street will be shared by the Solon Community School District, the City of Solon and the Solon Tri-Township Fire Department. (photo by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– It should be a win-win all the way around.
The Solon Community School District (SCSD), the City of Solon and the Solon Tri-Township Fire Department have entered into an agreement for the joint operation of a diesel fuel depot outside the city’s public works facility.
The 3,000-gallon tank was installed and is expected to be operational in February.
The idea originated with the school district last year.
SCSD Superintendent Davis Eidahl and Grounds and Transportation Director Mike Kasparek brought the suggestion of a shared fuel site to a joint city council and school board meeting July 10.
“That’s great. That’s exactly what we should be talking about,” school board member Rick Jedlicka observed at the time. “That’s a wonderful opportunity for a partnership.”
Kasparek and Solon Public Works Director Scott Kleppe felt the cooperative purchase would be good for all involved.
“I think it would give the school and the city a lot of benefits of getting bulk,” Kasparek said.
Each entity would have a card or fob with individualized tracking by vehicle and employee, Kleppe explained.
“So we have full accountability of what is being fueled up.” Kleppe affirmed.
Currently, he said, both the school and city purchase fuel at gas stations in town and pay fuel tax, something they wouldn’t have to do buying in quantity.
The taxes can be credited back to the city, he added, but it’s often a headache at the end of the year.
In addition to general savings, the depot could potentially solve fuel issues for the fire department.
The department doesn’t go through a lot of fuel, Kleppe said, and has encountered water and fungus growing in its supply.
With multiple vehicles drawing from the tank, he said, those problems would likely go away.

An update on the possible project was delivered at an Oct. 18 session.
Kleppe reported to council members the school was being forced to relocate its fuel tanks and had no ready site.
The city’s supplies, he added, are not well protected from theft.
Kleppe presented a proposal for an above-ground 3,000-gallon tank with an accompanying fuel management system to be constructed adjacent to the public works building on Stinocher Street.
The tank was originally to be located at the Johnson County maintenance building off Highway 1 on Sutliff Road, which the city mulled purchasing in 2017.
But the property purchase never moved forward.
“Unfortunately, there’s not a huge market for suppliers of this equipment in the immediate area, so I’m only able to provide one quote,” he said.
The cost was just under $15,000.
Kleppe said he visited with Fire Chief Bob Siddell and Kasparek about cost sharing and the location. A tank that size will provide about two-and-a-half month supply for the three groups, he said.
During initial discussions, Kleppe said, the fire department would pay the smallest share, $2,000, with the city and school splitting the remaining balance 35/65.
Data from the system would have to be downloaded every 250 purchases or so, and then reports distributed to each entity, he said.
Council member Steve Duncan questioned whether the size of the tank was adequate to accommodate growth for both the city and school.
The new tank replaces two 600-gallon tanks, one for the city and one for the fire department, which were filled quarterly. Kleppe noted the city’s tank was used to fuel nine diesel vehicles and five diesel standby generators.The school goes through about 2,000 gallons every 75-to-90 days, he added.
According to Eidahl, the district operates 16 diesel buses, but also owns eight vans, one car and three trucks which have gasoline engines. In fiscal year 2017, he said, the school system spent $31,305 for 17,243 gallons of diesel, and $10,286 for gasoline.
“The fire department, I bet, doesn’t go through 500 gallons quite a year,” Kleppe said.
“I think it’s a really good idea,” council member Lynn Morris said. “It’s commendable that all three entities are able to work together.”
Duncan indicated the $4,500 investment for the city made sense, especially if it meant cheaper gas.
Kleppe indicated there would be some additional costs for the city for demolition and a new concrete pad. Ongoing maintenance expenses will be shared based on usage.
City Attorney Kevin Olson drafted the 28E agreement outlining the mutual operation of the tanks; it was approved by school board members at a very brief Dec. 15 meeting, and by the Solon Tri-Township Emergency Response Agency Jan. 8.
Council members made it unanimous at a Jan. 3 meeting, where Kleppe announced a small setback.
The tank was delivered, but the pump was mounted on top of the tank, which is 5 feet tall, he said. The cost of moving the pump to the base will be another $1,200, he said.