Andes taxpayers save big $$ on fuel project
By Dick Sanford
The concept of shared services among school districts in New York State is all the rage these days, but in the Town of Andes, a shared project between the school district and the town has already saved its taxpayers somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000.
Two years ago, when Andes Central School replaced its aging fuel oil storage tanks, the engineer on the project told school officials that the school’s storage tanks for gasoline and diesel fuel, which were 25 years old and at the end of their useful life, did not meet modern codes and needed to be replaced. The tanks were used to store fuel for the school’s bus fleet and automobiles. The cost to replace those tanks, according to the engineer, would be someplace between $60,000 and $100,000.
Last November, ACS School Superintendent Dr. Robert Chakar and ACS Board President John Hopkins reached out to Town of Andes Supervisor Martin Donnelly and Town of Andes Highway Superintendant Mike McAdams with the novel idea of having the school district use the town’s modern fuel storage facility instead of replacing its own and simply not spend and money to replace the school’s fuel storage facility.
“It was a pretty simple process,” said Supervisor Donnelly. “I think we only had two or three meetings between town and school officials and we worked out the details quickly and easily,” he went on to say.
The school, and the town highway garage, where the town stores its diesel fuel and gasoline, are only about a mile apart. The town’s highway garage is located in the Tremperskill Valley. Two of the school’s six bus routes travel that road on their normal routes.
Dr. Chakar explained how the process, which began in July, works.
“Each bus driver has a key card that works like a credit card at the town’s pump. The key card will identify the driver and which bus is being fueled. At the end of each month the town bills the school district for the exact amount of fuel it has used and the school district then pays the town.”
The school district, at a cost of $2,800, has removed its old gas and diesel tanks and, because of its shared services arrangement with the town, has no plans to replace them.
According to Supervisor Donnelly, it isn’t just school districts that are feeling pressure from the state to share services.
“The state wants towns to share services as much as it wants school districts to do the same,” he said. Donnelly went on to say, “This was an easy and obvious project for both the town and the school district. Both share the same taxpayers who will now benefit from the school not having to spend a huge amount of money to replace its fuel storage facility.”