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MADISON TOWNSHIP ─ Madison Township Fire Department is undergoing some changes and upgrades under new leadership.

The township trustees on Monday evening unanimously approved several proposals made by Fire Chief Kenneth Justus, who was sworn in three weeks ago. One of the projects was joining the WEX fuel card program, a fuel payment system designed for different fleet sizes.  

Justus said the fire department has a fleet of about nine vehicles, including ambulances, fire engines and the chief’s car. Currently, each vehicle fuels up at a special fuel depot in Mansfield, which is about 3.4 miles away from Station One on Expressview Drive.

“We have to drive from here (Station One) down to this fuel depot just to put fuel in. But the problem is, we're using quite a bit of fuel just driving it (the vehicle) down there,” Justus said.

The fuel card program will allow the fire department to purchase fuel with credit cards only for this purpose at any gas station that meets the need of the vehicles, he said. The employees will need to enter their ID number and the mileage when using the card.

He said the township will receive itemized bills showing the date, time, mileage and who bought the fuel. The program also offers 1 percent off the cost of a purchase.

The fire department will not be “stuck” at one location anymore and be able to get the fuel at a cheaper place if it’s on the way. Justus said he learned the fuel card program when he worked at Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department.

“It's a smarter way to utilize the resources around us and save money for the taxpayers,” he said.

The township trustees also approved the fire department’s purchase of a new pickup truck. Justus said the agency has been saving money from an existing levy for the vehicle over the last two years. The truck purchase price will be about $37,974.

The truck will take some of the use and abuse off the fire trucks and ambulances, including dropping off workforce and running errands, Justus said. The purchase will also save the fire department on fuel costs.

Justus said he has spent the last few weeks learning the community and meeting with the fire chiefs in neighboring towns. He started a cleaning project at the station as well. The agency is going through the older equipment and determining if it’s still functional and worth keeping.

Additionally, the township trustees on Monday voted for a new mowing contract between Madison Township and Richland County for this year. Chairman trustee Jim Houser said the contract amount is $2,179.20. The county will be paying Madison Township $240 per mile of county road lying within the borders of the township.   

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