Council votes down electric car

Written by Stu Salkeld

The County of Stettler won’t be joining the ranks of electric vehicle owners quite yet, as council voted down a proposal to purchase such a vehicle for delivery jobs.

The 3 to 4 vote was held at the July 13 regular meeting of council.
County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Yvette Cassidy presented a report to councillors about an opportunity for Stettler County to purchase a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for the Public Works department’s use.

Cassidy stated the county has been looking into the idea of an electric vehicle for a few years and it’s now made easier by a provincial government grant program.

She said staff have been working on purchasing an SUV type vehicle for the parts department to run parts to staff in the field.

However, one hurdle to confirming the grant money was to get a vehicle confirmed for delivery within 12 months. It appears the Public Works department was able to leap this hurdle.

In a report to council by Director of operations Rick Green councillors heard a Stettler dealership was able to find a vehicle.

“Public Works received a sole source quote… as other local brands do not have current availability of similar-sized plug-in hybrid electric vehicles,” stated Green’s memo.

“The county has been arranging participation in available grants through the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre Electric Vehicles for Municipalities Grant (EVM).

The grant should provide a minimum of $7,000 against the purchase price.

“This purchase was not budgeted in 2022 but we are looking at fairly long delivery dates and are looking for direction to order now and attribute costs to the 2023 budget.

Acceptance of grant funding will be confirmed prior to any order confirmations.”

The CAO stated that even if the grant fell through, the Public Works department had room in its 2023 budget to purchase the hybrid vehicle.

Green added that if something bigger needed to be delivered, such as barrels for example, a larger vehicle was also within the county fleet for those jobs.

He explained that the vehicle would be plugged in right in the Public Works shop and kept ready to go all the time and that the vehicle shouldn’t be any problem.

However, it needed to be pre-ordered now to include in the 2023 budget.

Coun. Les Stulberg stated he was opposed to an electric vehicle and would vote against its purchase because two thirds of the county’s property taxes are paid by the oil and gas industry while power plants pay zero taxes to the county. He likened the vehicle’s purchase to Stettler County buying beef from foreign countries for municipal events.

Coun. Justin Stevens asked about the price of a recent pick-up truck purchase Stettler County made. Green answered the pick-up was a half-ton truck with a V6 engine and was over $50,000.

Coun. Dave Grover asked if the Public Works building would have to be expanded to accommodate the electric vehicle. Cassidy answered no, no expansion was necessary.

Coun. Ernie Gendre stated he would support the vehicle’s purchase as times change and he didn’t mind experimenting.

During discussion quite a few jokes were made about the ribbing county staff may receive if they drove around in an electric vehicle.

A motion to approve the purchase a 2022 plug-in electric hybrid at a purchase price of $44,233 plus $2,211.65 taxes and $6.26 Amvic fee for a total $46,4450.91 was defeated by 3 to 4 vote with Coun. James Nibourg, Stevens and Gendre in favour, Reeve Larry Clark and Coun. Stulberg, Grover and Mackay opposed.

After the vote it was stated the staff would investigate purchasing a van as a delivery vehicle which would be included in the 2023 budget.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.