The City of Toronto's bid committee approved two contracts in August, worth almost $40 million combined, to purchase up to 114 new garbage trucks for the city's fleet. However City Councilor David Shiner isn't sure that the new trucks will be needed, and asked a city auditor to investigate the approval.
Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler was asked to review whether the committee underestimated potential cost savings related to replacing the fleet, specifically questioning if the new approval of the purchases "represents sound decision making."
Lisa Duncan, acting director of collections and litter operations, explained that the new trucks were already ordered for delivery this year as part of the city's capital replacement program, as the old trucks had reached the end of their lifespan.
Shiner's hesitation for purchasing new trucks lies in the possibility that the city will outsource its collections, which would make Toronto's $40 million investment for a new fleet unnecessary.
"I can’t understand why the city’s bid committee awarded contracts to replace 114 garbage trucks — more than half the fleet — when city council hasn’t decided on contracting out and is in the midst of labour negotiations," Shiner told the Toronto Sun. "That is $40 million for new trucks that we may never use."
However, the outsourcing decision has not yet been made, and many officials were just trying to look ahead in replacing the current trucks, which are now too old for operation. Without replacements, city workers could be put in dangerby using trucks that are not fully equipped or properly functioning.
Shiner has asked an executive committee to halt further spending on garbage trucks until any contracts or labor negotiations are completed.