County could spend $30,000 a month on equipment rental

By MorinvilleNews.com Staff

Sturgeon County – A 2009 decision to not purchase a new crawler has resulted in Sturgeon County having to decide whether or not to spend $30,000 a month to rent one should the existing 23-year-old crawler break down this season. County Council voted 6-1 in favour of authorizing the County’s transportation manager to spend $30,000 a month on rentals in the event the crawler becomes no longer serviceable during road construction this season.

County Council had defeated first reading of a bylaw authorizing the purchase of a new crawler, then valued at $850,000, during the regular council meeting Jan. 26, 2009. In 2010 Council approved a recommendation to rebuild the crawler’s transmission for $60,000 and replace the D-8 dozer in 2012. A years later, the existing crawler is now 23 years old with 25,000 hours of service on it and an increase to County taxes for 2012 prohibited the 2010 plan from being fulfilled and a new crawler purchased this year.

Mayor Rigney, who cast the only opposing vote, took issue with the equipment need not being part of budget. “I don’t know why this wasn’t included in the budget,” Rigney said. “It’ll eat up our entire contingency.”

Funding of the crawler rental would come from the County’s contingency fund – currently valued at $400,000 but limited to $175,000 due to $125,000 being set aside in the 2012 budget for a Northwest Upgrader response should it be needed.

Council was presented an option to purchase a used crawler at an approximate cost of $400,000; however, the purchase would have been unfunded, leaving councillors to decide just where the money would come from.

Council’s decision to authorize $30,000 a month in rental fees will allow the flexibility to rent a D-8 machine to keep Local Road Reconstruction crew operating during the 2012 season in the event the existing equipment becomes inoperable.

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