Commission terminates fuel farm contract


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — Sparling Corporation, an aviation fueling systems and equipment company, that was contracted to install a skid mount fuel farm at the Darke County Airport has been fired by the Darke County Commissioners.

In October 2022, the commission agreed to pay Starling Corp. $377,900 to procure and install the new fuel farm at the airport. The county sent a deposit of $94,475. The company was given 270 days to complete the project. Moving forward to November 2023 and the project has not been started.

On Tuesday, Commissioners Matt Aultman and Marshall Combs agreed to a notice of termination of the contract and demanded the deposit be returned. Commissioner Larry Holmes was absent from the meeting.

Commissioner Aultman said the county has been in contact with Sparling, but they were not given a new completion date. “Not having a foreseeable future, we’re going to cancel and ask for, not ask, we’re demanding our deposit be returned,” said Aultman.

The county has learned the company has had several issues, including the lack of a workforce to build the fuel tanks and personal issues. Sparling is a specialized tank company that builds double-walled tanks for fuel. Aultman also noted the company had projects in other counties lined up, but they have not completed work in those counties either. “Those counties have cancelled production with him,” said Aultman.

Sparling had been in contact with the county’s engineer and the county was told to be ready in September. When September came, Sparling shared it would be another six- to eight-months. “We got to digging deeper and talking to other counties, we found out some more stuff that made us want to get our money back and also at the same time look for another vendor,” said Aultman.

The county will now rebid the project.

Commissioners also approved its Radiation Protection Plan for county offices at its Tuesday meeting. The county received a call from another county asking if Darke County had a plan. After looking into it, the county learned the state was beginning to look at counties to see if they had a plan in place. The plan was needed because the county has x-ray machines at the courthouse and Sheriff’s Office.

The county also entered into a contract with Aramark Uniform Services and the county’s ditch maintenance. The three-year contract reduces the minimum charge to $5 if they do not provide service for a particular week. The previous minimum charge was $25.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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