By Matthew Robare
A new fuel management system for the Town of Saugus—currently being installed—is expected to save fuel and money for the taxpayers. The FUELMASTER® system is sold by Syn-Tech Systems, Inc., a Florida-based company, according to Town Manager Scott Crabtree and the company website.
“It’s a centralized database that communicates with both pumps,” said Mike Donovan, who handles information technology for Saugus. “It records every transaction and gives you reports that can be broken down in different ways… It’s a really, really nice system.”
Crabtree said that the system was costing the town around $80,000. “They haven’t completed it,” he said. “Some things we had to change and retrofit. The company told us that the return on investment on this is about a year and a half in savings. It’s a good deal for taxpayers and residents.”
One of the issues revealed in the forensic audit conducted last year by Powers & Sullivan was that the town wasn’t keeping close tabs on who was and was not allowed to fuel vehicles using the town’s fuel pumps at the Public Safety Building and the Department of Public Works. Former town manager Andrew Bisingani was alleged in the audit reports to have allowed some employees of the town to fill up their personal vehicles.
“That’s going to help us with fuel management, budgeting, actual, and being able to allocate what fuel goes to what departments and set up with a key system, so that when they fuel then it’s allocated to that department and that vehicle,” Crabtree said.
“We haven’t really known what we’re spending on fuel, we don’t know what departments it’s being allocated to,” Crabtree said.
He added that accurate measurement of fuel consumption would help them submit more accurate bids to the fuel consortium the town buys gasoline and diesel from. He explained that when they submit a bid to the consortium it’s for a set price of fuel per gallon on the amount of fuel they anticipate needing, and if they end up having to buy more than they anticipated, they pay a higher price for it.
In addition to savings on fuel, the FUELMASTER® system will also allow the town to keep its vehicles in working order. “Not only can they take information about what car is fueling, it takes diagnostic information about the car and allows our mechanics to be proactive,” Donovan said. He added, “It’s the same system used by the Department of Defense.”
“The equipment that’s going up there is military grade,” Crabtree commented. He further explained, “It’s pretty good. I think Lynn went to it a couple years ago. What we’re trying to do is make sure things are run efficiently and allocated correctly. It’ll help us with budgeting, because it will produce reports and all that stuff.”
“I think it’s really going to help the town,” Donovan said. “Fuel costs have risen 600%, so it’s really important to keep track of every penny. I’m psyched it’s coming in.”
A spokesperson for Syn-Tech was unavailable for comment on the installation.