HEFLIN — Cleburne County commissioners will mull the benefits of the county having its own fueling station versus a credit-card-type system for employees to fill county vehicles.
At the May meeting, the commissioners tabled a request to replace the fuel lines to the county’s fuel tank so the county could resume distribution of fuel. The old fuel lines may be the cause of a fuel leak that traveled down the hill and into a creek near the county equipment barn. The county has been working with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to clean up the spill, but they have yet to find its origin. When county officials found out about the spill, they turned off the fuel lines as a precaution.
If the commission approves the measure at its June meeting, it will allow the county engineer to replace the lines and thus the resumption of gas being dispensed to county vehicles, County Administrator Steve Swafford told commissioners at their work session on Tuesday.
As an alternative, the county could use Wright Express, under a contract through the Alabama Purchasing Department, Swafford said. The contract would allow county staff to fill county vehicles at almost any station in Cleburne County without paying state and federal fuel taxes, he said. Those taxes add up to 34.4 cents on gasoline and 44.4 cents on diesel, Swafford said. The cards would be associated with the vehicles, Swafford said, one card for one vehicle.
The county last purchased diesel fuel for its own use for about $3 per gallon and gasoline for $3.06, Swafford said.
With local stations selling gas for about $3.55 per gallon and diesel for about $3.79, using the Wright Express card would cost the county $3.21 a gallon for gasoline and $3.35 for diesel.
Commissioner Emmett Owen said the trade-off would be less risky for the county because it wouldn’t have to store gas and diesel.
“It’s too big a liability,” Owen said.
He doesn’t want the county to be responsible for cleaning up another spill, Owen said.
The county could auction off the tanks and the fuel that is still in them, Swafford said.
In other business, commissioners:
— Heard the county garbage contract is up for renewal. The county has been receiving many complaints about garbage service, Swafford said. However, it received complaints about the last company as well, he added. The county’s small population, spread over many miles of road, is not an attractive contract for garbage-pickup providers, he said. The last time it was bid out only two bidders responded. The commissioners discussed putting a survey on the county’s Facebook page for residents to express their opinions.
— Heard a request from a resident to change the commission meeting time to 6 p.m. The commissioners agreed to change the June meeting to 6 p.m.
— Heard the county has two board appointments expiring, one on the Library Board and one on the Building Authority.
— Heard a request from Cleburne County Schools to support a recreational trails grant application to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. The commissioners were asked to support the school system’s application for a $16,000 grant, Swafford said.
— Heard that four resolutions about Turkey Heaven Mountain will be on the agenda. One resolution would withdraw support for Cleburne County’s exemption from any state regulations for wind turbine projects. Another would ask for a one-year moratorium on wind turbine projects in the state. A third would state that the commission doesn’t intend to change or close a public road on the mountain or use condemnation or eminent domain on private property on the mountain.
The commission scheduled its next meeting for June 16 at 6 p.m.