Palmer Township rope-swing tree comes down, social media mourns

PALMER TWP., Pa. – Palmer Township will pay $1.58 per gallon of unleaded fuel for the next two years.

The township supervisors approved a bid at that price Monday for 87 octane fuel from Petroleum Traders, an Indiana-based wholesale supplier.

Nearby Northampton County gas stations were charging $2.65 and $2.69 per gallon, which provides another reminder that Pennsylvanians pay the second-highest amount of gas taxes in the U.S.

Palmer does not have to pay state or federal taxes on fuel, Township Manager Robert Williams said. That saves about 77 cents per gallon. The rest of the discount comes from bulk purchasing of 119,000 gallons annually. The $1.5808 per gallon fixed price was lower than bids for prices that would fluctuate with petroleum markets, making the vote an easy one.

The state tax on unleaded gas is 58.7 cents per gallon, and federal tax adds another 18.4 cents. Californians pay the most in taxes per gallon, according to the Tax Foundation.

"Let's lock it in," Chairman David Colver said of the $1.58 price. Supervisors Ann-Marie Panella and Robert Smith joined him in voting yes. Supervisors Jeffrey Young and K. Michael Mitchell were absent.

The township also approved a two-year bid for diesel fuel at $2.0015 per gallon from Talley Petroleum. Palmer will pay an extra 3.5 cents per gallon for cold-weather fuel. Diesel fuel requires an anti-gel supplement in winter to lower its freezing point. Talley Petroleum of Grantville, in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, will supply diesel.

The township had to lock in the prices by 8 p.m. Monday. The fuel purchases are for the township and the Suburban EMS ambulance service.

The township will be putting out some bids of its own. Palmer will put used equipment up for sale on Municibid.com, an EBay-like service for governments. Items for sale include plows and dump trucks.

The supervisors approved that sale by a 3-0 vote. Colver said Municibid has proven to generate more money than local bidding.

The township will start leaf collection next week.

After the public meeting, which took only about 25 minutes, the supervisors went into a closed session to discuss real estate, potential litigation, and personnel issues, including police personnel.