Council balks at buy-local approach to replacing 12 SUVs

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“But you and I both know that would double the cost,” he said. “We’d need to have double the budget to be able to do that,” which would not be fair to taxpayers, he said.

Ward 10 Coun. Jim Morrison said he would love to have a locally-produced vehicle join the City of Windsor fleet. “And I think they know where they have to price their vehicle to get in our fleet.”

WINDSOR, ON. SEPTEMBER 14, 2020 - For the first time in almost six months Windsor City councillors and administration participated in a in-person meeting at City Hall on Monday, September 14, 2020. It was a hybrid version of the regular meeting where some members were in council chambers while others joined online. Seating was very limited. (DAN JANISSE - The Windsor Star)
For the first time in almost six months Windsor City councillors and administration participated in a in-person meeting at City Hall on Monday, September 14, 2020. It was a hybrid version of the regular meeting where some members were in council chambers while others joined online. Seating was very limited. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

At the end of Monday’s council meeting, Ward 9 Coun. Kieran McKenzie asked for a report on developing a local procurement policy.

Two councillors — Fred Francis and Jo-Anne Gignac — argued against replacing the SUVs at this time. Gignac cited the troubling financial challenges facing the city during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Holding off for a year or two on this purchase, I don’t see what the downside would be,” she said.

Francis said he believes “we can squeeze some more life” out of the Journeys, which are eight to nine years old. Their mileage is fairly low, with between 64,588 and 108,932 kilometres.

“At the low end they have 65,000 K, at the high end 108,000 K. At the very least, why wouldn’t we get that 65,000 K vehicle up to 108,000 K before we decided to get rid of it,” he said.

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The administration points out their condition is much worse than their mileage would suggest because the bylaw enforcement hours use them as mobile offices, with the engines idling for long periods. Several have been in recent accidents and one was recently towed in for service. The average maintenance cost is $2,310 per year with major repairs on the horizon, the report says.

bcross@postmedia.com