WESTLOCK – Westlock County councillors balked at a $16,000 price difference between what the municipality was quoted on a 2021 one-ton truck, versus a 2022 model and have asked for more options from administration.
Following close to 30 minutes of discussion at their Nov. 9 regular meeting, councillors voted 6-0 (Coun. Stuart Fox-Robinson was absent) to have administration gather three additional quotes for a replacement one-ton truck for the waste management department and bring it back to the Nov. 30 meeting. Further, council voted 6-0 to direct administration to get legal advice on the unfulfilled tender for a 2021 one-ton truck.
A request for decision from agricultural and environmental services manager Jacolyn Tiggert notes that during deliberations for the 2021 capital budget, her department was provided with $60,000 to replace unit #121 which tows the recycle trailers to each county transfer site — the current unit “is in poor mechanical condition and waste management requires a vehicle on a daily basis to support the service delivery.”
A replacement 2021 one-ton truck was tendered out and an approved quote from a dealership was awarded for $47,963, plus GST — the name of the dealership was not provided to council. Tiggert’s briefing went on to note that earlier in the fall a one-ton truck did arrive at the dealership, however it was a 2022 model that cost $63,954.00, plus GST — the dealership does not have any fleet-concession discounts for 2022 models.
Tiggert said they asked this dealership to check other lots as they knew how important this truck was to our fleet but “there just aren’t any (2021) one-ton models to be found.” Her RFD also notes that administration could use the 3/4 ton currently in the fleet, however that will leave the department short, which may affect other programs and the 3/4 ton may be under capacity to handle the load.
“Administration is recommending that we purchase this vehicle. We feel that waiting we may not even get a 2022 model and there’s no 2021 models to be had. And with the prices that are inflating like crazy right now we feel that waiting may not be in the best interests of the county,” said Tiggert, noting that if they passed on the 2022, she had been told by the dealership that a second buyer was already lined up.
While councillors are well aware of truck shortages across North America due to global supply chain issues, the fact there was such huge price difference between the two was a tough pill to swallow. As well, councillors also questioned whether they had any legal grounds to argue for a discount due to the fact the municipality had a signed tender.
Coun. Jared Stitsen did initially put forward a motion to purchase the 2022 model stating “ … there’s not many out there and vehicles are hard to find and it’s probably going to be even harder next year” but later withdrew if from the floor following the discussion.
“I think with a tender there is some legal obligation. But I’m not a lawyer,” said deputy reeve Ray Marquette. “A tender says that they will give you a vehicle (at an agreed price). If not, they might have to eat some of the price. I believe there is some legal hold in a tender.”
“Tendered to me is a formal agreement. The mistake is on their end. I get that it is a tough situation to be in, but we do need to be responsible with the money as well,” added reeve Christine Wiese.