Centre Wellington council approves $3 million in vehicle and equipment replacements for 2021

·3 min read

CENTRE WELLINGTON – Centre Wellington council have approved adding $3.2 million in vehicle and equipment replacement to the 2021 draft budget.

This will mainly be covered through reserves and only an additional $42,000 is needed to be increased in the tax supported budget, said deputy treasurer Mark Bradey at Tuesday's budget meeting.

Vehicles that are proposed to be added next year include two ton-and-a-half trucks, a single axle dump truck and five pickup trucks across various departments.

The vehicle replacement comes in at an estimated cost of $1.6 million with $27,000 needed from the tax-supported budget.

To take advantage of costs, treasurer Dan Wilson put forward tender results on two of the pickup trucks for the fire department at a total of $90,000 all inclusive.

Fire chief Brad Patton explained the two trucks were 14 and 18 years-old with over 60,000 km and 85,000 km respectively.

In COVID times, councillor Bob Foster questioned if these vehicles could be extended for another year or two noting that mileage is relatively low.

Patton said this is inline with other departments across the province who view trucks as a 10-year life cycle.

“We’re already starting to have breakdowns on them … we can’t have these trucks failing going to calls,” Patton said, adding that he has had personal vehicles with much higher mileage.

“Would I want those as an emergency first responder vehicle? Probably not.”

On the overall ask for vehicles and equipment, councillor Neil Dunsmore praised town staff for prudent asset management as impact to taxes is relatively small compared to what they’re getting.

He noted that finding a vehicle to defer would likely balance the tax impact to zero but didn’t think it should be an emergency service vehicle adding the two trucks to be replaced have had a good lifespan.

“If we have a 10 year replacement policy, one is at 18 and one is at 14 (years), thank you for keeping them in the shape they’re in chief Patton but it’s time to replace them before we run into any problems,” Dunsmore said.

Foster said the fire chief made a good case for replacing those trucks but put forward a motion to put a moratorium on replacing any other vehicles in 2021.

He said he felt $1.6 million was too big an ask during a tough budget year and would like to see staff re-purpose vehicles in different departments.

CAO Andy Goldie explained that they do re-purpose vehicles and are always looking for the best option whether that be trading-in, selling or sending it to a different department.

This motion ultimately failed to pass however some councillors noted staff should show what they do with the vehicles and share good news on effective use of assets.

Council later unanimously approved the vehicle and equipment replacements for 2021.

Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com