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M.D. finds new service truck in unorthodox way

Posted on July 21, 2021 by Taber Times

By Cole Parkinson
Taber Times

After exploring a variety of opportunities, and experiencing difficulties in sourcing a new service truck, the Municipal District of Taber has found a suitable unit in town.

At council’s regular meeting held on July 12, councillors were updated on administration’s search to replace their unreliable service truck.

“We didn’t have any success at the auction there the other week, but after talking about that with council, Summit (Motors) gave me a call a couple of weeks ago and they actually have a cab and chassis — an International branded GM chassis in stock,” explained Stu Weber, director of Public Works. “Someone else agreed to purchase (it), but came up with something different so they gave us a price on that, which is actually a fantastic price for that particular unit.”

With a number built into the budget, the available unit has come in over the number of $175,000.

But thanks to savings with other capital purchases, the numbers should work out, according to administration.

“Initially, we only budgeted $175,000 for this. They’re not building them right now and they figured they were probably a year out before we could maybe get one. The fact this one is sitting here, I figured I better bring it forward to council. It’s about $35,000 over what we initially budgeted,” continued Weber.

“The dozer and the CAT came in cheaper than budgeted so it’s not going to affect our bottom line so much according to the budget, but it’s just reallocating some of those funds.”

The total for the International CV 515 cab and chassis from Summit Motors ($88,500 plus tax) and an aluminum service body from Milron ($121,500 plus tax) is set at $210,000 plus tax.

“Any concerns with the truck itself?” asked Reeve Merrill Harris.

“Because it is a GM truck, it’s got the Duramax (engine) and the Allison (transmission) in it. That’s pretty well proven at this point in the pickups, so I think it’s solid,” responded Weber.

“This one’s a little bit heavier than what I would have been looking at — it’s got a GVW (gross vehicle weight) of 22.5 as opposed to 19.5. So, it would be a good truck for what we’re looking to do with it.”

While sourcing a new truck has been difficult, one concern was brought forward about purchasing a truck without first tendering it out.

“My only concern is that, normally, we would put this out to tender and give everybody an opportunity. I recognize the situation that a lot are in, in not being able to get any trucks. That would be my only concern,” said Coun. Brian Brewin.

“I have checked in with both local dealers and both have said they can’t come up with any pricing or any trucks at this point. So I’m not sure we could even do a tender, to be honest,” replied Weber.

Council also asked Weber about the body and if aluminum was less common than traditional steel.

“With the aluminum ones, it’s more limited. There are lots that build steel. This one, I was hoping to keep it around for a number of years, I think aluminum is the better way to go,” added Weber.

With the current service truck reaching its end of life within the M.D. fleet, council asked how much longer it could be relied upon before totally failing.

“It’s getting there, and I get a little nervous with it with some of the repairs that we have to do. Just about every time it goes out, there’s a little thing here or there that needs to be done. The crane is becoming very unreliable, which is my biggest concern,” answered Weber.

“What are we going to do with it when we replace it? Place it into an auction sale or a surplus auction of our own?” asked Harris.

Weber confirmed both of those options would be explored when it came time to get rid of the old unit.

While concern was raised around not tendering out for the truck, others on council explained that administration had done their due diligence.

As supply chains continue to be affected by the pandemic, it was pointed out this was likely a one-time thing.

“I’m more inclined to go forward with this one as a one-off. We have been trying many different directions to get a replacement. It’s out in the open, it’s not like we have done everything behind the scenes,” stated Coun. Tamara Miyanaga.

“I have a bigger concern that we might all of a sudden have no service truck and I’m actually grateful someone came forward with a solution because we haven’t found one and we’ve been trying for four to six months.”

A motion to approve the purchase of the International CV 515 cab and chassis from Summit Motors and an aluminum service body from Milron for a total of $210,000 plus tax was carried unanimously by council.

Coun. Leavitt Howg was absent from the meeting.

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