City council will spend roughly $120,000 in each of the next five years on its street and traffic lights but one councillor questioned whether the contract is really to the benefit of taxpayers.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield said he didn’t like the fact that only one company – Raylec Power LP – bid on the contract, leaving the city with little options.
“I get a little concerned with a single bid, which this item was; a single proponent on a five-year basis and not being renewed on a five-year basis,” Cornfield said at the Oct. 23 council meeting. “I don’t like to see it when we don’t have competition and comparable bids.”
Ron Bowles, the city’s corporate services manager, said council does have some leeway to re-consider the contract at the end of each year.
“The goal of this program is exactly what you’re talking about and that’s to use the market to get the best value and lowest price for our taxpayers,” Bowles said. “So, these are programs we do every year and we feel if we put out a five-year contract – because we do renew it every year – that we’ll get better pricing and better value for our taxpayers and that’s why we’re recommending the five years.”
Cornfield, though, said he had other concerns, namely that the $120,000 per year is only an estimated cost, based on what the city has spent previously each year on street light and traffic signal maintenance. He wondered what would happen if the actual cost came back at $150,000 for the year, which would leave the city short of what it budgeted.
City Manager Deborah Sargent said council will be able to reconsider the amount it’s allocating should the need arise.
“This contract is going to be renewed on an annual basis, performance-wise, to ensure that we are within the parameters, the $120,000 that we have estimated in the past,” Sargent said. “If there were to be a dramatic change, then we would bring that back to council or if there were issues with the performance of the contract, we would also deal with that.”
Mayor Andy Adams added that if that were to happen, a request for additional funding would come to council to sign off on either during financial plan deliberations or through an amendment at some point during the year.
That seemed to satisfy Cornfield as council in the end voted to award the traffic and street light maintenance contract to Raylec. Work under the contract will be awarded on an ‘as needed when needed’ basis.
Raylec is no stranger to the City of Campbell River. It was also the chosen provider of the traffic lights installed along Dogwood Street more than seven years ago, and, most recently of the new traffic signals at the Dogwood and 16th Avenue intersection.