By Keith McNeill
Should District of Clearwater continue with a trade-in program to get a new Bobcat Toolcat each year, even if the program cost has more than doubled?
That was a topic for discussion during a town council meeting held July 11.
The district obtained its first Toolcat in 2013, roads, fleet and equipment manager Mike Smith told the council members.
The machine replaced a large lawnmower but is much more versatile, with attachments for tasks such as road sweeping, field mowing, snow plowing and blowing, and material handling.
“The guys like it,” Smith said.
Purchase price was about $56,000. Since then the district has taken advantage of a trade-in program with the dealer, buying a new machine each year for $3,000. The program is contingent on the machine having fewer than 500 hours on it.
Recently the dealer has said it wants $7,200 per year for the program to continue, Smith reported.
He felt that left council with two options, either continue the trade-in program at the new price, or keep the present machine for several years and then trade it in for a new one when the time came.
Smith said they had never gone over 500 hours with the machines they have had so far. They have never had any repairs, so they have no history on how much they might cost.
To buy a new machine would be between $56,000 and $57,000, he said.
Councillor Dennis Greffard said that, with proper maintenance, the machine should last many thousands of hours before needing to be replaced.
Gord Heisterman felt the district should not pay the $7,200 per year but should instead put the money into a special account to buy a new machine when the time to replace the old one comes.
Barry Banford objected that the proposed trade-in contract was vague on how many hours would be allowed on the old machine.
On the other hand, Ken Kjenstad felt repairs to the machine could prove expensive and that it would be better to pay the $7,200.
Shelley Sim wondered if $7,200 per year would be enough to buy a new machine when the time comes.
After further discussion, the decision was made to continue the trade-in agreement with the dealer, even at the higher price.