Alix village council decided to sell a surplus vehicle no longer needed by the municipality, in effect turning down a request from the local fire department which wanted the truck. The decision was made at the Aug. 2 regular meeting of council.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White noted the village had a pick-up truck that was no longer needed.
“At the beginning of the year an underused village truck was put into service rather than purchase a new truck as shown in the capital budget,” stated White’s memo to council.
“An old fleet vehicle was then set aside to determine if it was needed/used or if we could manage without it,” she stated. “After finding out about the old pick-up and our intention to sell it, the [Alix] fire chief expressed interest in having it donated to the fire department.”
“I think this pick-up would be an asset to the Alix Fire Department,” stated Alix Fire Chief Darren Hiron’s letter dated July 23.
“We would utilize it to send members to courses at other fire halls. As of right now we send one of our fire trucks.
“This [surplus] pick-up truck would free up that fire equipment if there was a fire event such as car accident, grass fires, etc. We would also utilize it for hauling equipment such as hoses, fans and generators to fire calls and from fire calls to the hall as of right now we use my pick-up truck.”
It was further noted if the pick-up truck was donated to the Alix Fire Department it was expected the Village of Alix would cover insurance costs of about $484 per year while the fire department would handle all other costs.
“There is a cracked tail light, air bag service light is on, there is an issue with the wiring in the driver’s side door and the wheel wells are rusted out,” stated the CAO’s report.
White further told councillors the surplus truck had been sitting for about six months and the Public Works department noted it has no need for the vehicle. In fact, Public Works noted if the truck was disposed of, the vacant space would be much appreciated.
The CAO noted research suggests the pick-up could be expected to sell for between $8,000 and $10,000.
White stated councillors had three options, including keeping the truck for spare parts, donating the truck to the fire department and selling the truck.
She observed keeping the truck would be an issue as space in the fire hall is at a premium; White also noted this truck wouldn’t be part of the village’s agreement with Lacombe County, so the village itself would have to retain ownership of it.
“Concerns have been raised in the past with the acquisition of new equipment through fundraising,” stated White’s memo. “The main concern being when the new piece deteriorates and is ready for replacement, there can be an expectation that the municipality or municipal partners need to budget to replace the item.”
Coun. Barb Gilliat made up her mind quickly. “I think we should sell it,” said Gilliat.
Coun. Ed Cole agreed, citing as his concerns, storage and liability, over the vehicle’s mechanical condition.
The CAO stated she sympathized with the fire chief who made a strong case for keeping the truck.
However, Cole noted if something happens to anyone due to the truck’s mechanical condition, it’s owned, registered and insured by the village so the taxpayers would be liable.
“The liability issues are big here,” said Cole.
Coun. Tim Besuijen asked if the truck technically has to be donated to Alix’ fire services partner Lacombe County to begin with. White noted village staff already contacted Lacombe County and they declined to partner on acquiring the surplus pick-up.
White noted the $8,000 to $10,000 revenue from the truck sale could mean the difference for another project benefitting taxpayers.
Councillors unanimously passed a resolution to sell the vehicle.
By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Aug 17, 2023