Ponoka town council continued on the difficult path of dealing with assets from the former Ponoka Fire Department.
At its meeting July 10, council approved only a few of the recommendations from administration as the town attempts to dispose of the remaining assets that it has on hand.
Following a lengthy discussion, the town agreed to the sale of the two command pickup trucks for slightly more than $69,000. Additionally, it will offer any of the leftover equipment — estimated to be worth about $90,000 — to the Ponoka County Regional Fire Service at the items’ appraised value (see Fire Inventory List in box). Whatever isn’t sold, will be put up for sale through Rocky Mountain Phoenix in Red Deer, which conducted the appraisal.
CAO Albert Flootman presented 10 recommendations that would have disposed or moved nearly all of the items still at the old fire hall. Among them was the donation of several items — including a steel door training prop, a fire extinguisher training simulator and the zodiac boat along with its trailer, motor and old ice rescue suits — to the Ponoka County Regional Fire Service. As well, any furniture, tools, equipment and consumable items remaining would be transferred to other town operations.
Additionally, it was recommended that some axes, pike poles, a cut saw and used uniforms (minus any logos) purchased by the Ponoka Fire Brigade Society be donated to a small rural fire department within the region. However, when questioned regarding the saw, Flootman noted the tool isn’t in possession of the town and it isn’t known exactly where it is.
There were also recommendations to have the revenue from the sale of Engine 16 for $108,327 ($291,364 less $183,037 the town applied to its 2018 operating budget to reduce the property tax burden on residents) as well as the sale to Rocky Mountain Phoenix of the command trucks plus Engine 1 and the town’s former bylaw enforcement unit (a total of $90,000) placed into the heavy equipment reserve.
However, Coun. Carla Prediger wasn’t too pleased with the recommendations, or with the way it was presented to council and wanted to table the subject until it was cleaned up.
“Have we actually had a conversation with the county for, not an easy, but an equitable fair disposition as a total, not a ‘take this do this, send here,’” she said.
“We’ve appraised it, do you want it or can we get it to you and then see what’s left over — as opposed to us going through this really tedious motion based on pieces of equipment.”
Flootman responded that the county’s regional and east district chiefs went through what is available and the town has a list of what the county is interested in acquiring. That includes items for sale and the ones slated to be donated.
For Prediger though, that answer left her wondering why there were so many recommendations and why council doesn’t know what the county is willing to take.
“I’m a little bit concerned about the presentation of a multitude of motions that have huge ramifications,” she stated. “The fact we haven’t dissected this a bit more carefully into what is going to be a capital reserve, what is equipment, what we’re going to donate, how we’re going to capture the donation. I would like to table this until it’s cleaned up and presented in a much more concise manner.”
In hopes of keeping things moving, Coun. Teri Underhill proposed a compromise motion instead of tabling the issue.
“I feel we should offer it to our county partner and then after that stuff is gone, we get a detailed list of what is left, what is required and where it should go,” she said.
Underhill’s motion, which was approved, stated the items on the inventory list be offered to the county as appraised and once that is complete, administration is directed to bring council recommendations on where the revenue from the sales of equipment and trucks should be place as well as what should be done with any leftover equipment.
With the two fire command trucks sold, council revisited last month’s request from public works to buy two new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado pick up trucks from Ponoka’s Adams Chevrolet dealership.
The expense of just over $63,000 for the two trucks was approved after council found out the cost was offset by the sale of the command units with almost $6,000 leftover.
The two older pick ups they will replace are set to be sold at an auction.