By Cole Parkinson
As the end of the year approaches, the Municipal District of Taber is preparing for a rollover of equipment.
M.D. councillors were presented with the 2020 capital budget and list of items incoming for the new year during their regular meeting on Nov. 26.
With a fairly tight budget presented by the new United Conservative government earlier this fall, it has left many municipalities searching for a way to reduce spending.
For the M.D., initial total capital costs were set at $4,093,000 which has since been trimmed down to $1,732,000.
Disposals are now at $749,000 (initially at $4,093,000) and net capital is $983,000 ($3,011,000).
“Initially back in September, the capital budget proposed capital purchases was just over $4 million with disposals of over $1 million for a total net of just over $3 million,” explained Bryan Badura, director of corporate services.
In the 2020 capital budget, the M.D. Fire Department is looking for one fire chief supervisor unit, which would be a spare truck from the Public Works Department and would be repurposed for the fire chief.
The cost is estimated to be $10,000 to add a radio, decals and lights, and the existing unit would be cycled to M.D. Regional Fire Department’s duty officer.
They are also looking at a SCBA testing station for $18,000.
The SCBA testing station allows the fire department to test and certify their own bottle and SCBA masks, and they expect the unit would pay for itself in two years.
The Ag Service Board is after one 15’ rotary roadside mower with 1,000 PTO for $35,000.
The ASB has extended their roadside mowers lives from two to three years and now the condition of the existing units is showing.
They average about 850 hours per year and with the third year rotation, they will have 2,500 hours.
Trading in two Schulte 1,5000 Series four rotary 15’ units will return $16,000.
They are also looking for a new skid steer and in the proposed annual trade will bring in $70,000 while a new unit is projected at $85,000.
Hamlets and Parks is after a handful of new equipment including one half-ton crew cab 4×4 for $45,000 with the existing unit sold for approximately $2,000.
Also listed in the capital budget for the ASB is nine front mount 72” mowers with minimum 30 horsepower for $300,000 with an approximate return of existing units for trade-in at $275,000.
One Bobcat Toolcat utility work machine for $70,000 as this piece of equipment will replace the tractors at the hamlet and it can operate almost any attachment that Bobcat makes for a skid steer or track loader.
It can mow, push snow, operate a post hole auger and use other various attachments. Lastly, they listed a leaf vacuum for $14,000.
Equipment for landfills/transfer stations would be three landfill skid steers with an annual trade-in. Cost of the units is $255,000 and trade-in return is around $230,000.
Public works is after one CAT 160M AWD/JD 872G grader for $600,000.
This unit would be used as a typical maintainer equipped for ongoing road maintenance. Maintainer units will be set on seven-year rotations to stay close to the warranty period.
A public bid on the old 2012 CAT 160M AWD is expected to return approximately $100,000. It has 9,000 hours on it and has been used as a spare, as it is the oldest unit in the fleet.
They also have one generator/light-tower trailer for $25,000, one three-quarter ton crew cab 4×4 for $55,000 with the expected return of the older unit with 160,000 kilometres at $2,000, one half-ton crew cab 4×4 at $45,000 with expected return of the existing unit with 220,000 kilometres at $2,000, one track skid steer with proposed annual trade at $85,000, and return of existing unit approximately at $50,000 and a single wheeled skid steer for $75,000 with the existing unit being kept as a spare.
Council had questions around the spare unit being kept in the fleet.
“When I discussed the issue of having a spare, these new machines, they don’t break down but they do go in for servicing. In discussion with public works, I believe the intention is not to have one just sitting there as a spare, it is for another crew to put it on a trailer and take it out simultaneously as the other one,” said Badura.
“That is a concern because now you have an older skid steer that you build into the fleet,” added interim CAO Doug Henderson. “Do you really need it or is it nice to have? When you start saying spare I really have some concerns about that. That is one of the things I will be assigning to Stu (Weber, director of public works), the management of the whole fleet because I think that has fallen down the last couple of years.”
The last item listed on the 2020 capital budget was Ag Service Board shop renovations to transfer over to a Community Peace Officer shop at $25,000.
This would include transitions of the ASB shop into a suitable facility for the CPO operations, who currently are located in the Town of Taber Firehall.
“If we want to move out next year we have to give notice by Feb. 28, otherwise we are there for another year. Then we would have to give another year’s notice,” said M.D. Regional fire chief Brian Schafer.
Council asked administration what types of renovations would be needed for the building to be able to accommodate the CPOs.
“Most of it is some painting, some flooring, I.T. setups and then making sure there are secure rooms within that building for CPO operations,” answered Craig Pittman, director of infrastructure.
With the 2020 capital budget comes a five-year capital plan which administration explained as more of a wish list for the municipality moving forward.
“The plan goes 10 years into the future, however, according to the Municipal Government Act, what we are required to do is approve a 2020 capital budget and a five-year capital plan,” said Badura. “According to the Act, you have to have money to do this stuff (capital budget purchases). You can’t approve a capital budget without the means to fund it so in other words, you have to show the revenues that you have to (purchase) these capital items. The plan does not have to be funded. It can include projects that may or may not go forward depending on grant funding. To say you have to have a five-year plan etched in stone, I don’t think that is the requirement of the Act.”
Council elected to bring back the capital budget to their Dec. 10 meeting.