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Town will stay with current fuel provider and own tanks

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TOWNSEND — The Board of Selectmen has opted to remain with CW Fuels Inc., rather than pursue an alternate method of procuring diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline for town use.

The bid was the only one the town received when it went out as part of a joint pursuit with the towns of Pepperell and Ashby.

Selectmen announced that they were awarding the contract to the company in lieu of an offer from a local gas station — Mr. Mike’s on Main Street — because remaining with the current arrangement was deemed to be more cost-effective for the town.

The vehicle fuel contract will run through June 30 of next year and has options for renewal in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. In addition to the financial benefit, the arrangement also comes with a perk that many of its frequent users — most vocally Chief of Police Erving Marshall and Highway Department Superintendent Ed Kukkula — felt was too good to pass up.

“Based on the chief’s analysis and talking to (the superintendent), we feel having our own tanks would be better,” town administrator Greg Barnes explained during the Tuesday, Aug. 26, meeting of the board at Memorial Hall.

Barnes lamented that the town had still received no bids for fuel oil and would have to go through the process indefinitely until a bid came in. He was optimistic that the next time might produce an offer, after recent discussions with local providers.

Selectmen questioned the pricing scheme of the fuel that CW Fuels would provide, asking if the price would fluctuate with the gas market or if the rate would be fixed. Barnes said that the rate is based on a markup over the wholesale value, based on a seven-day average, and that prices would drop as long as they kept decreasing at the pumps, with the ever-present threat of an increase should prices rise.

After voting unanimously to award the vehicle fuel contract, the selectmen began to discuss a proposed addendum to another recently-signed contract, that for solid waste removal and disposal with G.W. Shaw Inc.

The request had come from the Board of Health and asked for a traditional provision to allow the town to withhold two months’ worth of costs, in lieu of a performance bond. However, doing so could only be authorized by the selectmen, even if the provision was accepted.

Selectmen were not convinced that the addendum, even it was a recent tradition, would be in the town’s best financial interests, after some brief number-crunching. The matter was tabled until the next selectmen’s meeting, in the hopes that a Board of Health representative could be present to explain why it would be more beneficial.

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