Mayor’s Column – September 7, 2016

September 7, 2016

 

Municipal taxpayers live very close to the machinery that exacts the local government’s portion their hard-won resources and they have a legitimate interest in how their contributions to the common good are used. I have attempted a number of times to share tax and spending information with you and here I go again, this time with some background information on the District Of Chetwynd purchasing practices over the last 19 months. Those of you with a vested interest in contracts and supplying will be especially interested.

During the period of January 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016 the District’s accounts payable department processed approximately $22,172,000 in expenses.  If we exclude expenses that by their nature do not have a competitive element, such as other government transfers, payroll deductions, legislated items, refunds to customers, single suppliers, long term agreements, Council and Staff travel and training, and advertising where the primary decision is based on the publication in which we want to advertise, we can account for approximately $9,805,000 in operating expenses; the total remaining expense is approximately $12,367,000.

This $12,367,000 includes expenditures related to projects that were tendered and open to bid by anyone qualified to do the project. The District is required by legislation to tender large projects across Provincial boundaries and cannot exclude companies from other Provinces based on their location.  Tendered projects, including road resurfacing, equipment replacement, municipal hall and medical clinic construction, and the sewer lagoon project totaled approximately $8,134,000. This leaves approximately $4,233,000 to be distributed over other projects and expenses.

Of the $4,233,000 remaining, approximately 48.5% or $2,056,300 was spent at business located in Chetwynd.

The largest local business suppliers include Aim Trucking, Aim Ventures, Chetwynd Chamber of Commerce, Chetwynd River Rock Sand and Gravel, Chetwynd Petroleum, Chetwynd Home Hardware, Dawson Co-op Cardlock (Chetwynd branch), and Peace Valley Industries.

The largest amounts spent with business or individuals not within the District of Chetwynd were directed to Golder and Associates and Urban Systems for engineering, Moch Electric for electrical services, Fred Surridge for water line fittings and related supplies and equipment for the new sewer lift station, Commercial Aquatic Supplies for pool maintenance materials, Distributors North for Janitorial supplies and equipment, and Northern Lites Technology for sewer line inspections.

District personnel follow Council’s Purchasing Policy when making purchases on behalf of the municipality. Staff understand the principle of spending your tax dollars, and apply a common sense approach when making all purchases. This means that staff will consider such variables as staff time required to research and evaluate the relative merits of each option. Staff will also consider costs such as advertising and shipping as well as the convenience of service that may be required subsequent to purchase.

Staff seek out the most beneficial deals for the municipality following the Principle of Best Buy in making purchases and take all factors such as access, urgency, quality, and shipping costs into account before authorizing the purchase. It is also notable that local suppliers that provide equivalent service are given a 5% advantage over out-of-town suppliers.

In addition to supporting local businesses through purchases wherever possible, the District’s commercial tax rate is below both the Provincial average and the average for Municipalities with similar annual operating expenses.

 

Merlin Nichols, Mayor