Council approves fuel sharing agreement

By DANIEL HERATY
Times-Herald Newspapers

An agreement to share fuel between the fire departments of Dearborn Heights and Dearborn was met with contention at the regular Heights City Council meeting July 26.

The agreement states that both cities have arranged to share the fueling station at 1999 N. Beech Daly Road in an effort to help Dearborn fire trucks save diesel fuel.

The Council approved the agreement 6-1, with only Councilman Thomas Berry dissenting. Berry said the agreement violates the city charter, as a Keytrol system, which monitors how much fuel is used at the station’s pump, was installed before council approval.

“As far as I’m concerned, what you’ve said is, ‘Forget city council and the authority they have in the charter,’” Berry said. “‘Go ahead and do it anyway.’”

Dearborn Fire Chief Richard Miller said the agreement saves time and fuel.

“At one time, every fire station had their own pumps,” Miller said. “They rotted out and had to be pulled years ago. Our trucks would have to go to the Department of Public Works (2951 Greenfield Road) to refuel. We were taking fire field Road) to refuel. We were taking firefighters out of the district just to get fuel.”

Miller said the proposal was determined to be more cost-effective than one previously suggested, which involved spending $60,000 to install a new fuel pump in Fire Station 2, 19800 W. Outer Drive. Instead, the Dearborn Fire Department bought the Keytrol system for $3,500, while Dearborn Heights Fire Department will continue to maintain the station.

Councilwoman Margaret Van Houten said the issue isn’t about the Keytrol system, it’s about providing fuel for Dearborn. Councilwoman Elizabeth Agius agreed, saying the debate over the Keytrol system should not negate the benefits of the agreement.

Dearborn Heights Fire Chief Andrew Gurka said that he and Mayor Daniel Paletko both agreed to install the system.

“We wanted to make an effort to try and help (Dearborn) out,” he said.

The price for the fuel will include the cost from the city’s supplier, Taylor-based Atlas Oil, plus administrative fees of 1 cent per gallon. The cost is expected to vary over time as the company’s charges vary.

Paletko said the purpose of the agreement was to lend a hand to a nearby community.

“This is about helping a neighbor,” he said. “The more we do as neighbors, the easier it will be (to work) collaboratively.”

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)