Northumberland County Manages Budget Overruns

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland

Budget over-runs on two projects both came with plans to address the shortfall at the May meeting of the Northumberland County Public Works Standing Committee.

Project Engineering Manager Denise Marshall presented the case of the one-ton Crew Cab 4×4, budgeted at $55,000 but costing $59,902.04 as per the lowest compliant bid from Finch Auto Group.

There is a lot of demand for vehicles just now, Marshall explained. And the vehicle in question is a heavy-duty one made of steel, which is currently costing more.

Fortunately, they realized savings on previous tenders, so the $4,902.04 difference can be transferred from the Transportation Capital Reserve.

As a used-car owner would debate an expensive repair over the cost of a replacement vehicle, the committee decided to accept Management of Environmental and Technical Services Adam McCue’s recommendation to repair the bulldozer at the Brighton landfill instead of looking for a replacement.

This vital piece of machinery, a 2008 D6, is not slated for replacement until 2023. It was purchased as a quality used machine in 2011 for $220,000, and repairs were originally estimated at $50,000.

“They have done complete overlook and estimate at least an additional $80,000 – at least $140,000 to get this machine operational,” McCue said.

“It’s a very versatile and relied-upon piece of machinery.”

To replace it with a new or quality used model at today’s prices would cost an estimated $400,000, he estimated, not to mention the six-month process to procure the replacement. Meanwhile, there’s a cost of about $12,000 per month to rent a replacement in the interim.

“It’s a significant cost, but doing a cost analysis, it’s still cheaper and in our best interests to repair this machine and get a few more years of life out of it.”

McCue did bring some good news – over-budget revenues from the Material Recovery Facility and savings on lowered leachate-management costs due to lower-than-usual snowmelt levels should cover the entire cost of repairs.

The case of the Dartford Bridge Rehabilitation project, budgeted at $1.6-million, was a different story altogether. The lowest qualifying bid (from Willis Kerr Contracting Ltd.) came in at $808,845. Furthermore, the actual cost of the project was determined to be $1,013,080.67, meaning savings on two fronts.

As a result the $586,919.33 difference will remain in the 2021 Bridge Rehabilitation Budget to assist with the Hickerson Culvert Replacement project.

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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