Boat and trailer purchase necessary, hears county council

Several departments needed a better boat says CAO

County of Wetaskiwin council heard at their regular Public Works council meeting that a recent purchase of a boat and trailer was handled properly by staff and was necessary, especially for safety purposes.

Earlier this summer some councilors had concerns about a capital purchase of a boat and trailer for several thousand dollars. Councilor Josh Bishop in particular was concerned the boat was purchased when it had not been approved in any budget.

CAO Rod Hawken was told to bring back to council an explanation for how and why the boat and trailer were purchased.

“At the July 23, 2019 Council for Public Works meeting, Council reviewed the Public Works report where Administration noted a boat and boat trailer were purchased for County use,” stated Hawken in his report.

“Council requested the Chief Administrative Officer to explain the tendering and purchasing process for this purchase.

“Administration provides the following report regarding the purchase of a small boat, motor, cover and trailer: – In late spring of 2018, G. Lynch, Director of Parks and Recreation approached S. Majek, Director of Ag Services and N. Powell, Director of Public Works to discuss the need for a small boat.

“Each department determined the boat could be used for the following maintenance operations: Utilities – for sewage lagoon maintenance, Ag Services – for beaver control, Parks – for placing buoys, floating rope, docks, etc.

“By-law -Land/shore (MR/ER) inspection and enforcement. – The consensus of the discussion was that a boat would be used by multiple departments. In the past, the County used two canoes tied together to create a catamaran used to complete the above listed tasks.

“Staff felt unsafe when using the canoes to perform these duties; particularly on windier days and rougher waters. Transporting the two canoes tied together was also a safety issue, as the trailer is used to haul the quad, mower or side-by-side.

“All three departments (Parks, Utilities and ASB) agreed to pay a one third share of the boat expense through their respective 2019 operating budgets as it did not meet the criteria for the capital threshold (i.e. less than $5,000).

“This was based on initial cost two estimates acquired by G. Lynch., therefore the boat did not appear on the 2019 Fleet Capital purchase program.

“In May 2019, G. Lynch took the lead on the purchase, with Parks Foreman L. Tomlinson pricing and purchasing the unit locally at West Country Leisure (i.e. Buck Lake Bob’s). Other sources were compared before making the purchase.

“This spring and summer, the boat has been used to install docks, floating rope and buoys at Mulhurst Bay and Viola Beach; Utilities staff in the lagoons; ASB for beaver control; and By-law used it for enforcement at Buck Lake on June 14, 2019,” stated Hawken in his report.

Hawken also provided councilors with a breakdown of the costs.

“The cost of the items purchased from West Country Leisure “Buck Lake Bob’s” included: 2014 Lund Jon 1448 Boat $2,490, Mercury Outboard Motor $1,290, Cover $ 226, Boat Trailer $1,199,” stated the report.

“In looking at the cost of the boat inclusive of its motor and cover, the net costs amount to $4,006. This is below the threshold of $5,000 for equipment capitalization and is subject to the tendering policy Section B (2) Goods or Services greater than $10,000 but less than $20,000.

“The purchase was sourced locally. A trailer is considered a separate piece of equipment and its cost should not be included in the total cost of the boat. Following the purchase, Finance contacted Fleet regarding the cost of the boat and requested a unit number and hourly charge out rates.

“At the time, a cursory review of the total invoice was in excess of the $5,000 capital limit, therefore setting in a process to capitalize. Fleet erred in setting up an hourly capital and expense recovery program for the boat (and accessories) as it was not necessary. This was in error, and the boat will now be removed from Fleet Capital.”

Reeve Terry Van de Kraats said he felt the explanation was fine and that the boat was needed, especially considering the safety factor.

Councilor Bishop said he had been concerned the purchase hadn’t been approved by council.

Councilor Kathy Rooyakkers said she felt the purchase should have been discussed during strategic planning, and added that everyone agrees safety is key.

Councilors accepted the report for information.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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