High prices ‘fuel’ discussions

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County is dealing with rising fuel prices for its contractors for grader services.
At its regular meeting March 23, council approved a motion by High Prairie East – Banana Belt Councillor Tyler Airth that the grader maintenance contracts be amended to calculate the fuel rate adjustment monthly rather than the current schedule of every six months.
Council was presented a recommendation from Vic Abel, director of public works.
“Our grader maintenance contractors have requested an additional fuel rate adjustment or a contract amendment to change to quarterly adjustments due to the current unstable fuel prices,” Abel said.
Grader maintenance contracts currently utilize fuel rate adjustments twice a year throughout the life of the contractor, in the summer and the winter.
The fuel rate adjustment is calculated by subtracting the fuel price noted on the date of the tender closing for the contract from the current fuel price.
Abel agreed monthly would be better for the County and the contractors but it would be more work for staff.
“This would provide the contractors with the least amount of risk for the life of the contracts to be better able to manage expenses,” Abel wrote in his report to council.
“This should allow the contractor to maintain a fairly even level of profit throughout the term of the contract.”
He said it could also save costs for the county sooner as fuel prices decrease.
However, he added monthly adjustments would also require an increase in the 2022 operating budget, which has not been finalized by council.
Abel told council the monthly adjustments would increase County costs by $2,772 in April.
Further costs are currently unknown based on the monthly fuel price, he noted.
CAO Jordan Panasiuk agreed that monthly is the best as council discussed the issue for 30 minutes.
“Monthly is the fairest, but it’s more work for staff,” Panasiuk said.
Airth made the motion after monthly adjustments was first suggested by North Gilwood – Triangle Councillor Jim Zabolotniuk.
“The simplest and the best way is to do it monthly,” Airth said.
“Monthly is the most accurate for everyone.”
South Sunset House – Gilwood Coucncillor Ann Stewart agreed monthly is the best.
“Fair is fair, even if it’s more work for staff,” Stewart said.
Joussard Councillor Richard Mifflin also supported monthly.
“I agree we get a more accurate number,” he said.
Abel noted the adjustment alleviates any fuel price increases for the contractor and to keep County cost lower when the fuel price decreases.
He noted various world issues are causing prices to rise sharply.
“Fuel prices are so volatile now,” Abel said.
He predicts it will eventually calm down.
“It’s going to go up but it will level off,” Abel said,
Reeve Robert Nygaard, Enilda – Big Meadow Councillor Lane Monteith, Airth, Zabolotniuk, Mifflin and Stewart voted in favour of the motion.
Grouard Councillor Jeff Chalifoux and Kinuso Councillor Roberta Hunt voted against the motion.
Heart River – Salt Prairie Councillor Garrett Zahacy was absent from the meeting.

Share this post