By: Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
With the pandemic still weighing heavily on municipal finances, officials in Leeds and the Thousand Islands are using all their contacts and skills to find savings.
That means forming partnerships with neighbouring municipalities to spread costs.
The township’s new director of operations, David Holliday, has a history from previous employment of working with the city of Kingston on roads maintenance projects.
“It’s a good idea for consistency and savings,” said Holliday. “You bring on one contractor for the region which leads to a standardization of services, a reduction in costs and a reduction in greenhouse gases.”
Provided Kingston council approves the agreement, it’s a one-year contract with an option to extend for up to two more one-year terms, by mutual agreement.
“For us it’s about trying to build larger purchasing power,” said Anthony Simmons, construction manager with the City of Kingston.
For 2021, the procurement will be for surface treatment on a number of township roads.
“We did this the first time formally with South Frontenac, with David. This year we were unable to extend that contract with South Frontenac, so when David reached out we were happy to look at a new agreement,” said Simmons.
Holliday says he expects to see at least 10 per cent in savings on a $300,000 roads budget, which he explains means the township could complete a few more kilometers of roads this year on the same budget.
“We saw savings of approximately $400,000 when we partnered with South Frontenac last year,” said Simmons.
Joint procurements are not unusual among geographically adjacent municipalities, and are consistent with the Municipal Act.
“We share a number of roads with the City of Kingston, so I’m very happy that our director is moving forward with connections he has to save us and our taxpayers money,” said Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke.
The agreement still allows staff to ensure that the joint tendering process done in conjunction with Kingston is consistent with the township’s procurement policy. The bigger project, resulting from combining road works, is more attractive to contractors as well as more cost efficient.
“Contractors that provide surface treatment applications often have to mobilize from Ottawa or Toronto, so combining projects makes it worth their while to come down to us, and geographically it makes sense because we’re not just combining the service on roads we share,” said Simmons.
Simmons will be presenting his recommendation to enter into the agreement with the township to Kingston city council on Tuesday, and if it’s approved he hopes to start issuing tenders in conjunction with the township as early as March.
“It’s early for the industry but it can lead to the best prices,” said Simmons.