Trent Ernst, Editor
Town Council pre-approved two items at its first round of budgeting talks, but wanted more information on three others, tabling them until later.
The first item they pre-approved was $200,000 for a new street sweeper. The current street sweeper is 25 years old and it needs $20,000 work just to get it up and running. It has provided the District with quite a few years of service, says Operations Manager Doug Beale. “We use a lot of sand in winter, and that needs to get cleaned up in spring,” he says.
But there are issues. The biggest one is that the cab isn’t dustproof. “Last year,” says Beale “the operators had to wear dust masks. And when the cab fills with dust, their visibility is impaired.
The new one would be smaller and more efficient, says Beale, with cameras so operator can see behind.
A lot of the District’s equipment is getting old. Over the next few years, they will be trying to replace some of this equipment. There is no replacement strategy currently, but there are funds set aside. He says this is currently the most pressing need. While it only gets used a few times a year, it is heavily used in spring, and Beale says he will not allow people to operate it without being dust-proof this year.
Councillor Howe asks what it would cost to contract this out, as it is only used for the two weeks. Beale says it is used other times throughout the year. He hasn’t done any research on contracting out. Not sure if anyone does that in this area. Councillor Howe asks if the proposed equipment is a new unit and is there a warranty? Beale says yes to both.
Also approved is $10,000 for railings near the Roman Walkway where the old steps were removed.
However, a number of items were tabled for future discussion. For instance, $104,000 for replacement golf carts was not approved.
The current carts are almost twenty years old, says CAO Barry Elliott, and they need lots of repair. Currently, there are some gas-powered Yamahas sitting out there, but these needs to go back, as they were leased last year by the previous golf course manager. The trade-in value for the 13 carts would be $9100.
Councillor Krakowka asks about age of carts. He says that a number of years ago there were some older carts that were sold off to residents and new carts were bought, so he’s not sure why those carts are twenty years old. Beale says he is judging the age by the serial digits on the carts, so maybe they bought used carts.
Krakowka says he’s not sure he’s in favour of buying carts. He says the previous tenant leased his own carts. “Maybe the new contractor should provide the carts?”
Elliott says the Request For Proposal (RFP) says that the previous contractor was not supposed to be leasing those carts. He was supposed to buy the carts, which could be used as collateral.
Councillor Howe says that, according to the RFP, there are twenty electric golf carts the District is going to provide to the contractor, but there were only 13 previously. Elliott says that 20 carts are needed for how big and how busy the course was.
“I think we’ve put the cart ahead of the horse here,” says Councillor Howe. “We’ve told them we have 20, but we haven’t approved 20.”
Elliott says that’s a part of the RFP, but if council decides not to go for any, staff will have to revise the contract.
Councillor Kirby asks why aren’t they just buying seven to bring us up to 20. Elliott says the old carts are falling apart. “They are costly and time-intensive to maintain,” he says, “which is why we are proposing getting a new fleet.”
Councillor Mackay proposes reducing the amount that the contractor would have to pay to the District, and then have the proponent lease carts?
Mayor McPherson says would it not make sense to talk to the new proponent and find out if they want to supply their own carts?
“We’ve already put out the RFP saying that we would provide the carts, but it would be a matter of discussion. We could also put out an addendum with the change,” says Elliott.
Councillor Howe says he agrees with Councillor Mackay. “We’re not able to lease as a municipality, so if it costs $1000 a month for the proponent to lease carts, we can deduct $1000 from their lease, and have them rent.” He also thinks it’s foolhardy to go with electric motors. “We’ve had a huge problem with battery storage in the past. I think gas would be better.”
Elliott says that was true in the past. “We’ve upgraded the whole storage system so that the area is heated in winter and it’s vented for gases given off, etc.
Councillor Mackay says if there’s an addendum that can go out saying there’s a different way to supply the cart, then there’s no problem.
Councillor Krakowka asks if staff can get a cost on leasing? “Not for us to lease, but so we can provide an approximate cost to anyone who is interested? Also can we find out when we bought these carts, because I’m sure we purchased these in the last few years?”
It is suggested that the motion be tabled, which it is, though Beale cautions that one of the reasons for the pre-approval was so they could be ready for the golf season. “Just keep that in mind as we move forward.”
There’s $260,000 in the budget for town hall building envelope improvements, of which $60,000 is for an engineering study. Councillor Howe says before approving spending money on the engineering, he wants to know they are following through with it.
Elliott says in an effort to keep the pre-approval to a minimum, they only brought forward this part. “You will see the rest coming forward in the regular budgeting process.”
Howe says he struggles with this. “If I think of this as my building, I don’t know that I’d be willing to spend $60,000 just to have someone come in and look at it. Once again, there is a motion to table this item.
The last item looking for pre-approval is for an engineer to come in and look at the pool as well as options for upgrading. However, Elliott says, “if there is some concern, though on the engineering on this one, though, I can’t really speak to it.”
“If we need to do it, why do we need the engineer to come in to tell us the same thing,” asks Howe. “I’m sold on the advice of Mr. Klikach.”
Councillor Scott asks when was the last time the engineer was out to assess the pool? Elliott is not sure. Councillor Kirby says she knows public feedback is not going to be in favour of this.
The item is tabled.