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Newmarket council could give budget pre-approval to 13 new town vehicles
Jan. 19, 2015
By Chris Simon

Budget deliberations have yet to officially kick-off in Newmarket, but council is already preparing to set aside more than $900,000 to replace several aging municipal vehicles.

Council may grant budget pre-approval of $922,950 to help cover the replacement of 15 municipal vehicles during a meeting tonight. If the plan is approved, equipment ranging from a Zamboni to a field sweeper will be purchased.

Initially, staff asked for about $1.36 million in funding to replace 23 pieces of equipment. However, councillors whittled down the list during a committee of the whole meeting Jan. 12.

"I accept that I don't know enough about the equipment to start judging these on a one-off basis, but my gut instinct is that I feel like we're replacing some of these items with too low mileage,” Regional Councillor John Taylor said during the committee meeting. “I don't think people in the private sector would be doing (this). We're replacing things earlier. This is an area that needs some review. I'm not comfortable with it. Our fleet looks in pretty darn good shape."

These items would typically be approved during budget deliberations. However, October's election pushed the town's budget process back by a few months, meaning council likely won’t approve the document until the spring.

The town usually sends out vehicle tenders in January of each year to secure the best price from bidders.

"These vehicles are used for roads, water and wastewater, facilities and parks daily maintenance purposes," town public works services director Christopher Kalimootoo said in a report to council. "Early approval is required to ensure tenders can be issued and equipment ordered as soon as possible to receive delivery ... for seasonal needs. Delays also increase the maintenance costs for older equipment.

Additional consideration is also given to ... receiving the most trade-in value ... versus the estimated cost to maintain the vehicle over the next year."

Several of the vehicles left off council's list should be approved, Councillor Dave Kerwin said.

"The equipment we use is sometimes for very heavy work," he said. "I have to rely on our staff. What we're trying to avoid is an old, broken down fleet. As a modern, progressive town, you must have a fleet that's state-of-the-art or all of us will pay the penalty when it's not delivering the service we say we're going to do for residents. If you don't modernize your infrastructure, you're left behind."

The items that are not approved will be referred to upcoming budget deliberations for consideration.