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City has too many public works vehicles, says consultant for US military, air force, navy, marine corps, NASA, homeland security


Sault Ste. Marie obtains a failing grade on the financial management of our public works park

The largest fleet management consultant in North America identified the approximately 300 vehicles used by the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s division of public works must be considerably reduced.

Three representatives from Rockville, Md. Based Mercury Associates, Inc. will be at Monday’s city council meeting to advocate for reducing unnecessary vehicles and improving fleet and financial management.

Mercury’s consulting clients include 34 US states, four Canadian provinces, the US Postal Service, NASA, Homeland Security and the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

In Ontario, the company’s municipal customers include Aurora, Gravenhurst, Guelph, Halton, North Bay, Oakville and Waterloo.

Of the 298 vehicles in the Sault’s public works fleet, Mercury removed 75 vehicles from consideration in its “scale-up analysis because they had either been recently replaced or were specialized equipment.”

Of the remaining 223 vehicles, the consultant requests the elimination of 14 vehicles and the overhaul of 84 others.

Four vehicles that are only needed during peak summer season should be leased as needed, Mercury says.

The consultant donated to the City of Sault Ste. Marie failed in four of the 10 functions assessed as part of her Fleet Practices Review.

The areas in which the city needed major improvements were:

  • fleet cost and financial management
  • fleet management information systems
  • in-house asset maintenance and repair
  • internal parts management

By adopting its recommendations, the consultant says the city will save $ 2.2 million, including $ 1.4 million in the first five years of a multi-year replacement plan.

The age of the city’s public works park is a major issue.

A good 40 percent of all Sault Ste. Marie construction vehicles will meet or exceed their recommended replacement age next year, according to the consultant.

The city has a replacement backlog of between $ 10.5 million and $ 12.3 million on these vehicles, at an average annual cost of $ 2.9 million, advisers will be told.

The fleets evaluated by Mercury experts included these public works services:

  • operations (174 vehicles)
  • parks (74)
  • discharge (25)
  • traffic (13)
  • building equipment maintenance (7)
  • administrative (3)
  • mechanical (1)
  • stores (1)

On Monday, city councilors will be invited to approve the consultant’s recommendations in principle, referring a proposed addition of $ 250,000 to the municipality’s equipment reserve to upcoming budget deliberations.

Advisors will also be asked to similarly reference the 2020 budget negotiations, a proposal to pay a total of $ 130,000 to Mercury for its assistance in streamlining fleet operations and developing a fleet replacement plan.

Monday’s city council meeting will be broadcast live on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.

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