For the last five budgets I participated in, Administration, specifically Public Works approached council regarding the purchase of a track hoe.
The argument was made that we needed to have our own, due to us having to dependent on the availability of contractor’s hoes the costs involved etc etc.
Every year I asked the same questions give me specifics of when we ran into a problem getting a hoe, and how much were we spending on renting machines. The answer I always got was no specific dates and $10-15,000 a year.
With that information myself and enough of my fellow members of council had the wisdom to not make that $250,000 purchase. Even at a cost of $15,000 a year it would take 17 years to pay for then you would be left with a machine that was worthless, plus costing the town how many dollars to maintain each year.
So budget 2011 rolls around administration brings forth the request for a track hoe again, surprisingly council not only approves it but decides to put the taxpayers in debt to finance it. (at that point 17 years becomes 18-19)
But the story doesn’t end there just a few short months later administration comes back to council and says we need $25,000 to buy a trailer to move the hoe, well I guess now you have made the first mistake you really can’t go out and not have a trailer to move it around so council approves that.
Lets fast forward a year, the story of the track hoe I felt was behind me and could not get any more ridiculous than it already was. So here I am just a few evenings ago having a chat with a couple of fellows that have lived here all there life and spent most of their working life around heavy equipment, when the topic of the track hoe comes up.
I am told that the Hoe the municipality purchased is an odd ball size, attachments and parts can be difficult to acquire, Wow. Then the icing on the proverbial cake comes along (remember the initial argument about availability of contractors hoes) I am told that the municipality does not have a piece of equipment adequate to move the hoe around, we are dependent on contractors to do that for us.