REPORTING · 29th January 2015
There were several items of priority which came up for Pre-budget Approval. One of these items is a Operations Truck for the Fire Department.
On Monday, January 12th, it was explained to Council the truck for the Deputy Chief of Operations was purchased in 1999. There are currently issues of it not starting for him in the morning and the District Mechanic has had to make trips to Cablecar to get it working. The truck has been towed several times.
“It’s becoming unreliable due to its age,” said Fire Chief Trent Bossence.
While Council was told this was a priority item, no one was willing to push it to pre-budget approval at the time.
It returned to Council on Monday, January 26th. Councillor Larry Walker explained to Council he could not understand understanding why the truck was so expensive, valued at $52,000.
“Two things we have to keep in mind with this vehicle. 1: 52,000 is not the cost of the vehicle, the $52,000 is to make a normal citizen vehicle into a fire response vehicle so some of that cost is going to be absorbed through emergency lighting, the decaling, the canopy that’s required for it. We’re looking for ten-twelve, $13,000 at most on top of the cost for the vehicle,” said Bossence.
He expressed he does not know how much the truck will cost because it will go out for bid. He is looking for a crew cab, 4x4, short box. Mayor Phil Germuth confirmed they will not be adding unnecessary perks to the truck. Bossence said it would be similar to a vehicle which was purchased 5 years ago to make things easier for the maintenance crews and have similar replacement parts.
“I am somewhat concerned that we are being asked for pre-approval on something that would appear to be not an emergency. I don’t see why we can’t wait another month or so to finish the remainder of our budget and there are a number of items which are not reflected in the budget document,” said Councillor Mario Feldhoff.
He wanted to know what the add-ons were for one truck compared to what they could be including in their budget. He expressed he did not see the need for pre-approval, although he could support approving this item during the budget process.
Councillor Claire Rattee stated the money would be coming from a reserve to replace Fire Department Vehicles. Feldhoff argued although the vehicle may already be covered by the reserve, it has to stand against all of the other items in the budget.
Bossence explained these vehicles allow the chief officers of the Fire Department to respond to incidences from home. Now, they also go to medical calls. This allows them to maintain the Primary Care Paramedic Licenses as well as give the Fire Department extra men on the scene of an incident.
“I have a little bit of a issue with the debate on this one, because no one had a problem with pre-approving $20,000 for hanging baskets and we’re talking about our fire response here, it’s incredibly important, and our medical response,” said Rattee.
Councillor Rob Goffinet expressed they were talking about replacing a 16 year old vehicle which had to stand for high performance. He said this was a good investment because the deputies and chief respond to all emergency calls. The truck was not meant for staff, but for emergency responses.
Feldhoff declared he believes the vehicle to be a staff vehicle. He stated he did not see the need to pre-approve it but he may approve it when the budget comes before Council. “If we start pre-approving the whole budget, we’ll paint ourselves into a corner,” said Feldhoff.
Walker agreed with Feldhoff. “We’d better get our act together and get this budget done as quickly as possible,” said Walker.
The motion was called and carried with Councillors Mario Feldhoff, Larry Walker and Edwin Empinado opposed.