At their April 7 meeting, Faraday council were presented with the bids from a tender that had been put out for a consultant to undertake a fire services review of their fire department. While the tender closed on March 31, there was such a disparity in the amounts of the bids submitted that council instructed township staff to get in touch with the bidding consultants to ascertain whether they fully understood what was expected of them. Once that is done, a special meeting will be held to award the winning tender, most likely later in April.
At their Feb. 3 council meeting, Faraday council had a discussion about the Fire Hall addition or renovation, and staff were instructed to inquire with the Ontario Fire Marshal if they needed to complete a review of the fire department to determine what is needed or if they should get a consultant to complete a review. At the March 3 council meeting, council agreed to the hiring of a consultant for the modernization and efficiency of the fire department and a tender was put out for a consulting firm to undertake this task.
Faraday fire services are provided by volunteer firefighters who are managed by a volunteer Fire Chief. The township operates two fire halls; one at 13 Lower Faraday Road and the other at 2107 Bay Lake Road.
Dawn Switzer, the clerk and treasurer, said that the tender for the review of the township’s fire services closed on March 31 at 10 a.m. and staff reviewed the quotations. They were then presented to council at the April 7 meeting.
“The objective of the project is to review the township’s fire services with the goal of determining best practices that provide the community with efficient service delivery and cost efficiencies,” she says.
Switzer said their office got back four submissions from consultants ranging in price from $5,860 to $24,900.
“Our goal is to ensure service and cost efficiencies and identify if there are any areas of improvement,” she says.
According to the wording of the tender, the scope of the review is to include; fire station facility conditions, equipment and maintenance procedures, responses, capital assets, the bylaw establishing and the regulation of the fire department, ensuring that volunteer firefighters and the department as a whole are following rules and regulations set out by the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office. After the review, the consultant will be expected to compile the findings and recommendations into a report, which will summarize the reviewer’s preliminary findings and recommendations for cost savings and improved efficiencies. The report is expected to be submitted in PDF format to the township by May 3.
In addition to providing the township with an insurance certificate for general liability for a sum of at least $2 million, with the township added as an additional insured with a 30-day notice of cancellation, the successful bidder also is expected to provide a certificate of clearance from the WSIB or a letter of exemption for independent owner/operators.
At the council meeting on April 7, Deputy Mayor Marg Nicholson remarked on the wide disparity in the quotes provided.
“That was such a spread, you’d think they were bidding on different things,” she says.
The bids were as follows; Performance Concepts Consulting put in a bid for $19,890 plus HST, Emergency Management and Training Inc. put in a bid for $24,900 plus HST, TDC Group put in a bid for $9,800 plus HST and Loomex Group put in a bid for $5,860 plus HST.
Since there was such a disparity in the bids, council decided not to award the tender at the meeting but asked Switzer and staff to approach the consultants and ascertain that they understood fully what they were bidding on and exactly what they’ll provide for that money. Nicholson mentioned that the other municipalities that had done a fire services review had paid approximately $35,000.
“So, I’m just wondering if what we’re asking for is not what we should be asking for?” she says.
Switzer replied that when they had done up the tender, they had gone off the wording of tenders that two other municipalities, Madoc and Brockville, had done within the last two years.
“That’s the wording we used to make sure we were getting everything we needed,” she says.
Initially the report from the consultants was due on May 3, but due to the delay in choosing a winning tender, council decided to push back that date, perhaps to early June. The council then decided to have a special meeting once staff had again spoken with the bidding consultants, and would choose the winning tender for the fire services review at that point, most likely later in April.
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times