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Municipality presents plan to cut high cost of snow plowing by taking back routes

UPDATE: Motion carried

Council, meeting tonight at Shire Hall, will receive a plan to handle snow plowing in the County that involves a move toward doing the work with its own trucks and drivers.

At its meeting August 28, council did not approve a $1.7 million contract tender from Drew Harrison Haulage for winter plowing of six routes, and directed staff to negotiate again. It did approve an eight-year contract with QBT Excavating Services of Brighton, for four other routes.

Drew Harrison Haulage provided a confidential revised proposal but costs to the County were still approximately 40 per cent higher for the proposed six routes than the QBT rates.

The Report of the Engineering, Development and Works Commission states staff were not prepared to recommend acceptance of the revised proposal as it was not suitable to council’s direction. QBT advised it could take on a fifth plow route at the previously offered rate of $200 per day standby and $225 per hour plowing.

The report is recommending the County grants the additional contract winter plow route to QBT and begins internalizing all winter control plow routes, starting with five routes in 2018/2019.

Two tandem trucks with winter implements from Surgenor Truck Group at the price of $565,699 plus applicable taxes are on the way. Earlier this year council approved the purchase of the trucks to replace aging vehicles. The existing trucks were to be sold as surplus. The report now recommends the trucks be repaired and one pressed into service this winter.

The report notes typically the County holds three trucks in reserve as replacements for truck breakdown, damage, or in case of excessive snow. In past years, all the reserve plow trucks have been used during winter storms.

“Should a breakdown situation arise this winter, and the reserve plow trucks aare already in use, we would not be able to clear plow routes in a timely fashion,” said Robert McAuley, Commissioner of Engineering, Development and Works, in his report. “However, the routes would be cleared eventually. Should this situation occur, a public service announcement would be issued. Staff believe the risk in reducing the number of reserve plow trucks by one for this season is warranted, and council concurred.”

He states unbudgeted costs to return the existing two “surplus” plow trucks is estimated at $50,000. The 2018 budget’s total combined contracted and internal cost for roads winter control is $2,748,518. The QBT contract is estimated to cost $704,375 per year. The internalizing of the five routes is estimated to cost an additional $315,000 per year, for a new total annual roads winter maintenance budget of $3,067,893 – an increase of 12 per cent.

The report seeks approval to secure the necessary debt financing for the purchase of the two trucks; and that council ratifies an increase for up to 12 contract seasonal driver to handle the new five plow routes.
Additional truck purchases and new staff to internalize the remaining five routes when the QBT contract expires in 2026 are to be outlined in future budgets.

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  1. Whatever says:

    Yes, I agree. as well. I also don’t believe anyone was blaming the council. The department head should step up here. The tender came out too late, the expectations were to high and budget was too small for what they had initially asked.

  2. REALLY >says says:

    I want to know why an 8 yr contract… what are ramifications if it is kaos … can you get out of the contract and at what expense… Pretty bold for this council to tie up for 8 yrs.

  3. hockeynan says:

    I agree Susan

  4. Susan says:

    This primary service has been handled dreadfully. As for what has been said in open Council about Mr.Harrison is disgraceful. I would be amazed if legal action was not taken.

  5. hockeynan says:

    The tender called for trucks to be no older than 10 years when the contract ended.To buy 10 new trucks at 300 thousand apiece is 3 million dollars.If you invested 3 million dollars how much would you want a year.Get your facts straight and quit picking on Drew.Blame the guy that drew up the tender.He requested newer trucks and now he is pulling old county trucks out the junk an going to plow roads.

  6. Mike Rodgers says:

    We need to stop blaming council for every hiccup in the county. They only create by laws and develop a budget based on what the county managers suggest their departments needs are. The one thing I can say needs to be done is for council to go to all department heads and get them to start doing their jobs. Looking at snow removal 6 to 8 weeks before snow flies.This tender should have been let out in April so that contractors had time to acquire equipment. Who ever looks after this is the villain here not council. God knows that the county upper staff is top heavy so you would think something could have been done earlier.

  7. Whatever says:

    Researchgirl – The County, through a tender, asked if anyone wanted to do this job and for how much. Do you honestly think this process is extortion??? Really???

    Just because The County didn’t anticipate only one response doesn’t make it Drew Harrison’s fault. He has the right to charge whatever he wants and The County has the right to turn him down the offer.

  8. Hudson says:

    Researchgirl, … in submitting a bid, Drew Harrison was not obligating the County to accept it. Neither was Drew Harrison obligated to submit a bid. In the absence of Drew Harrison’s bid, who would you or staff or the mayor or councillors be blaming for the fact that there was no real plan for ensuring that this vital service could be delivered?

  9. Researchgirl says:

    Drew Harrison tried to get triple the rate out of the County . The only other County contractor sold off his trucks.
    This is a transition year with staff scrambling to find a last minute solution and reasonable cost.
    Should they have got at this sooner? Yes!

  10. Mike Rodgers says:

    Lets go back. A few years ago the county could not get their employees to work extra hours to keep roads clear during snow storms etc. So we will contract out the work if you won’t want to do it they said and did.The roads were looked after in a timely manner with not to bad results by contractors. Now this. I wonder how they will get the employees to work the extra hours this time around.
    I think what I would do is ask the former contractors why they did not bid this time around. Maybe they could shed some light on what is happening.

  11. Chuck says:

    The fact that these type decisions are coming to the table in late September is problematic. Lame Duck Council approved it as fast as they could, and headed for cover!

  12. hockeynan says:

    You are so right Whatever. The tender specifies one thing and then they put junk on the road.I am sure Drew Harrison could have put better trucks on the road than the junkers the county is reserecting.This county can’t even get water to run down a ditch,instead it runs down the Centre of the road and has done so in more than one spot that I know of for years so how do you expect them to do snow removal properly

  13. Whatever says:

    So, let me get this right. It’s OK for The County to insist others supply all new trucks but they get to resurrect surplus trucks (otherwise known as “junkers”) as their reserve plows.

    It’s OK for them to ask others to quote on a tender for all new trucks and then be shocked at the sticker price (seriously, who does the budgeting for these tenders).

    It’s also OK that they resurrect “surplus” trucks only to risk them breaking down.

    For those of you in the more remote areas of The County, good luck this winter. Lets hope you don’t require assistance like police, fire, ambulance, food…

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