Ponoka County may get good grader deal

Administration given clearance to negotiate on replacement of four graders

With the end of the year coming, it’s time for Ponoka County to look at trading in a few graders.

However, there has been a bit of a twist tossed in that may wind up saving the county some dollars in the long run.

CAO Charlie Cutforth and public works superintendent Herb Schwingel told council at its regular meeting Sept. 26 about a deal that was presented to them by their grader supplier. The county is looking to replace four graders — three that are coming up to the three year trade-in deadline and an upgrade on an older model.

Cutforth explained Finning has a block of brand new 2015 graders with zero hours that they are offering customers after being unable to complete a sale of them to Dubai.

“They are rigged up exactly as we require,” he said, “The new graders will each cost $550,000 and the dilemma is how much would the 2015s be worth on trade in three years.”

He noted though Finning came through with a deal, cutting the price of the 2015s to $497,000 each and a guaranteed buyback of right around $300,000 each.

“They haven’t had time to come back with a guarantee on the new ones yet, but if there is any risk of it being more than a $200,000 difference, it might be a good idea to take the 2015s,” Cutforth added.

Cutforth’s suggestion was to give administration some discretion on the grader purchase, depending on the amount of the guaranteed buyback for the new models, was accepted and a motion passed unanimously.

Fire update

Ponoka County Regional Fire Chief Dennis Jones presented an update to council regarding the activities of the East and West District departments.

According to the statistics provided (as of Aug. 31), the overall number of calls responded to are 186 — 110 for east district and 76 for west district.

Of those calls for the west district, 12 were fires, 19 alarm responses, 16 public service calls, 13 motor vehicle collisions and eight each for grass/rubbish fires as well calls to assist other agencies.

For the east district, there were 24 fires, 24 alarm responses, 11 public service calls, 31 motor vehicle collisions, 16 grass/rubbish and four assist other agencies.

Information was also provided on the amount of revenue that’s been generated in 2017 — totalling just over $250,000 from fire activities and grant approvals. This figure doesn’t include the one-time payments from the Town of Ponoka for around $100,000.

The majority of the revenue comes from attending highway collisions and to date it amounts to about $120,000 — with just over $77,000 coming from the east district — while donations and grants equal $117,000.

Other business

A proposal from the Ponoka Kinsmen regarding obtaining title to the land where their toboggan hill sits will return to council once again, following a brief discussion and update on the situation at the meeting.

Cutforth stated survey crews have been going over the property, which currently stands at around 35 acres and includes the county’s waste transfer facility and space for future growth of a public works yard. The land has been marked out and a balance of around 15 acres is left over, which council has stated it intends to donate to the Kinsmen as soon as details can be worked out. A timeline for that transfer is not known.

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