Big Lakes County continues to struggle with rising costs and delivery delays on new capital equipment, such as heavy public works trucks.

At its Apr. 12 meeting, council approved two motions to increase the capital budget to cover the higher-than-expected costs of a couple of machines.

The first item was a tandem axle plow truck and attachments. Council heard the $410,088 price tendered by the successful bidder was about 43 per cent higher than what the county paid for its last plow truck, in 2021. The county had allotted $370,000 for the new truck in the 2023 budget. Council’s motion was to up the budget by $42,000.

Council also approved a motion to increase the 2023 capital budget by $12,000 to buy a new tandem axle dump truck and gravel box. Council had budgeted $238,000 for this item, with the low bid coming in at $248,000.

County director of public works Kevin Cymbaluk told council supply chain issues have not improved.

“Suppliers….are not guaranteeing delivery dates and in some cases, not providing firm pricing,” he said, “indicating that their pricing is ‘for budget purposes only.’”

In the above two cases, suppliers have told the county not to expect delivery until 2025.

Reeve Robert Nygaard wasn’t happy to hear that.

“I’m nervous that if we wait longer to replace the equipment, we will not be able to provide the level of service,” he said.

Cymbaluk agreed.

“We try to keep our replacement schedule on track,” he said. “Otherwise we would get higher costs.”

The county schedules replacement of plow/gravel trucks every seven years. Cymbaluk explained that after five years, the units are transferred to either the High Prairie or Swan Hills airport for snow plowing.

by Richard Froese

May 12, 2023

This item copyrighted by / South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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