I Know My Municipality NEEDS Fuel Management. Now What? So you are looking for ways to save your municipality and your department money. You’ve looked at health care benefits, hiring freezes, comp time, pension plans, supplies and all of the normal immediately thought about ways to cut costs. Of course, as a municipality, you’ve also run into the difficulty of implementing many of these changes within the current union contract. Then you really get looking at your budget and you notice you spend a heck of a lot of money on fuel. “Ugh! Fuel.” you think. Fuel transaction reports. Back charging other departments. Fuel reconciliation. Federal disaster relief funding reports for fuel spent recovering. Then there is the environmental regulatory portion of simply having tanks. What a PAIN!
You are probably aware that fuel management systems can solve a lot of those headaches, as it’s well documented on the web that installing a fuel management system can capture fueling transactions, simplify reporting, and assist with tracking vehicle maintenance needs. It can also help virtually eliminate any intentional or unintentional fuel theft. No one likes to think their employees are stealing fuel. We all want to think the best of our fellow workers, but we at Walden have witnessed it first-hand. While working on a fuel management project, we watched as a municipal employee pulled his personal car up to one of the new dispensers we had installed, filled his car up, winked at us and said, “These new dispensers are fantastic.” Little did he know the fuel management console was set to be turned on later that week and he was about to lose his supply of free gas.
The reasons you need fuel management are obvious to you, but the hurdle with any new system is where to get the money and how to make your case for spending it. Perhaps this suggestion will help. Let your comptroller know that bond counsels LOVE fuel management projects! And if bond counsels love these projects, so too do bond rating agencies. Why do they love them, you ask? It may be a little cliché, but it all comes down to money…future money to be exact.
Implementing a fuel management system can be costly, several million dollars if there are more than 1,000 vehicles and more than 10 fueling locations, however, fuel management projects represent a capital improvement project and capital improvement bonds can be pursued to pay for the project. Bond counsels today are looking for projects that will modernize municipalities, help cut costs, and save money over the long term. A fuel management system meets all three of these requirements by reducing fuel expenditures made worse by theft and poor vehicle maintenance, minimizing staff time dedicated to fuel transaction reconciliation, and often paying for itself (return on investment) in under 5 years.
Bond rating agencies love fuel management projects too. If other financial aspects of your municipality are in order, then fuel management projects prove a municipality is taking active steps towards decreasing its long term costs and increasing its ability to meet its long term bond obligations. The result can often be maintaining or improving a municipalities bond rating by the bond rating agencies.
If you know you need a fuel management system, do not sit back and stare are your annual budget trying to find the money. Go talk to your comptroller armed with information that will help them achieve their goals and by extension you just might be able to achieve yours too. If you have any more questions about fuel management then please don’t be afraid to contact us. Read more here if you would like to learn more about the efficiencies of Fleet Fuel Management Systems.