Brooke-Alvinston Council spent nearly 30 per cent more on a new backhoe choosing a local business over a London firm.
During budget deliberations this spring, Public Works Manager Randy Hills set aside $88,000 for a new backhoe to replace an aging unit which required a lot of repairs. Budgets were tight – the public works department was spending $143,000 less than it had two years ago – but the backhoe was necessary.
On Sept. 10, council looked at the tenders submitted for the equipment. The lowest bid came from Tormont (CAT) of London for $70,357.19 with tax. Councillor Jannette Douglas made a formal motion to accept the bid, but none of the other councilors supported it.
Instead, Councillors Ken Alderman and Frank Nemcek asked the tender from Kucera Farm Equipment in Alvinston be accepted with the backhoe being priced at $98,410.57 with tax – $10,000 over budget and $28,000 more than the lowest tender.
Mayor Don McGugan, who doesn’t vote on council motions unless there is a tie, says councilors were concerned about servicing the backhoe, saying it would take more time and money to do the work if a London firm won.
McGugan tells The Independent that generally, council accepts the lowest tender, however all their requests for proposals say “the lowest tender may not necessarily be accepted…so it is legally acceptable.”