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Tudor and Cashel discuss tandem truck purchase

A new tandem truck purchase was one of the topics of discussion at the Tudor and Cashel Township council meeting on Feb. 6. Nancy Carrol, the clerk and treasurer, submitted a report to council on the cost of a new tandem truck that would be available within the next month or so. Council ultimately decided to purchase this truck from their capital reserves in the amount of $408,000 plus tax, plus or minus $5,000, and to have Carrol look into an Infrastructure loan with a low interest rate to possibly pay for it after they take possession of it.

Back in 2023, at their May 2 meeting, Tudor and Cashel Township council directed staff to tender to replace the 2013 tandem truck, a process which put the township on a waiting list for said truck. Through AMO’s Local Authority Services Canoe procurement program, which according to the LAS website (www.las.on.ca), allows municipalities to access high-quality, competitively priced goods and services and free up staff time, the township got a quote for a Western Star tandem truck, priced at $398,174.80 plus tax. With the addition of items like a GPS unit, township decals and additional lights, Carrol estimated that the total cost would be $408,000 plus tax overall for the truck.

The useful life of tandem trucks for the township is 10 years and over the past year, the 2013 truck has needed significant and costly repairs to keep it in operation. According to Carrol’s report, the cost of tandem trucks has gone up over 10 per cent in the past two years. “The annual budget includes reserve funds that are for the replacement of equipment. With council direction I can investigate the interest rate for an Infrastructure loan to cover the cost of the truck to be brought to the Finance and Planning Committee for discussion and assessment,” she said in her report.

Carrol reported that at the end of 2022, there was $1,828,119 in the Future Capital Reserves. This year, they purchased the replacement for the tandem truck lost to fire in 2022 and a three tonne Chevy pickup truck, the total cost being $486,880, which was offset by the sale of the 2017 Dodge Ram pickup for $30,207 and the insurance claim of $318,900. Since 2019, overall, the township has budgeted $400,000 into the Capital Reserves. Carrol submitted her report to council on the tandem truck replacement at their Feb. 6 meeting.

Mayor Dave Hederson invited discussion on the report, which revealed that the truck would be ready within a month or so, that it arrived earlier than they anticipated (less than a year versus up to three years), that they need to replace the old truck as it has become prohibitively expensive to maintain, and if they passed on this new truck now, it could be another three years before they get another one.

Hederson told council that as for the approval of this purchase, the 2013 truck was beyond its useful life and it was costing the township a ton of money to keep it on the road. “The question is, do we want to buy with township money or take out an Infrastructure loan? I would find it hard to believe we could get a loan with an interest rate that’s less than what we’re making on our high interest savings account or our GICs. And so I would be of the view that as long as we’ve got the money, we’d be better off using the cash to buy it outright rather than going and getting a loan,” he says.

After more discussion, council decided to purchase the new truck with the capital reserves in the amount of $408,000 plus tax, plus or minus $5,000, and also to direct Carrol to investigate an Infrastructure loan with a low interest rate as well.

Carrol reiterated to The Bancroft Times that she’ll be investigating an Infrastructure loan and the interest rates for it. “The truck is being put together for the township and will be getting a plow harness and other final attachments in the near future,” she says. “I am not sure of the timeframe for completion at this time.”

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times