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Town Journal

Alternative Fueling Location Planned at Timberlin Golf Course

Town officials are planning on expanding a fueling site at Timberlin Golf Course to give Public Works crews and the Police Department an alternative fueling location in case of an emergency.

Town Manager Denise McNair said the expansion will fill two needs: provide fuel for the gas-powered golf carts, but also provide a secondary fueling site in case of a major catastrophe.

The project will entail expanding the capacity of the gasoline and diesel storage tanks that are at Timberlin near the maintenance building by bringing in larger, above-ground tanks. Workers will have to excavate the area to accommodate new safety measures in case of an oil spill.

“The flooding that occurs on Town Farm Lane of the current pumps is always an issue,” McNair said.

Officials have run into issues in the past where power was out in that part of town and the fuel pumps couldn’t operate. Within the last several years, McNair said there was a time when the town was “within hours of probably not having enough gasoline for our police vehicles.”

During Hurricane Irene, when power was out for days and fuel became scarce across the state, the town at one point had only around 1,000 gallons of fuel, which could have turned into a public safety concern had a new supply not been found, town officials said.

“We’ve had times where we could not refuel vehicles due to flood waters,” Fleet manager Jim Simons said.

Also, if there is construction occurring near the golf course, it will save time and money to have the trucks refuel there instead of having to travel across town, McNair said.

Expanding the fuel storage won’t result in an increase in the town’s budget for extra fuel costs, according to Simons. Consumption levels will stay the same, they will just be dividing existing fuel across two sites.

There are some left over funds in municipal garage gas and oil account that will go towards offsetting the cost of the project, which is expected to total around $17,000. Most of the work will be done by town employees.

The tanks are designed in a way that there are inner and outer layers, as an environmental and safety precaution.

Golf course superintendent Jonathan Zuk is also on board with the project. The golf course has a 500-gallon capacity tank there now and Zuk said the expansion project will make operations more efficient. The golf course previously had electric powered carts but recently switched over to gas-powered ones, which will save the town a few hundred dollars each year.

Some council members had concerns about security of the fueling station. Simons explained that the pumps will be controlled by a computer system and a user will need a special device to activate the pump. A record of the driver and the amount of fuel will get sent to a central record that’s at the main town garage. Workers at the golf course will be able to swipe a device to differentiate them from public works users to allow the town to keep track of which department is using the fuel.

Additionally, it was noted that the entrance gate to the golf course is locked each night.