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Pre-budget approval required for nine ambulances

Department needs to get order for $1,668 million in fleet replacements in by March

Durham Paramedic Services has asked for pre-budget approval from regional council to purchase nine replacement ambulances in 2019.

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Durham Paramedic Services is asking for pre-budget approval for replacement of nine aging ambulances.

Regional staff has asked the finance and administration committee to recommend to regional council that pre-budget approval due to timing issues.

If the paramedic services department does not get its orders in by the beginning of March, it will not receive the ambulances in time, according to staff.

A report provided to the committee indicates DPS will need nine ambulances. The estimated cost will be $1.668 million.

The region replaces a minimum of nine ambulances per year, as staff indicates the same amount will need to be replaced next year.

Oshawa Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson expressed frustration over pre-budget approval requests year after year.

“We must have known these ambulances were needed years ago. We must have a schedule for replacement,” he said. “Is there any reason we can’t provide funding on the previous year and give direction to it, rather than see this always coming in as a pre-budget ‘get my money first before somebody else grabs it’ motion?”

In response, commissioner of finance Nancy Taylor said the request is simply part of this year’s budget process.

“We do have an annual asset management plan that identifies our requirements that fold into the budget process, and these are the ones that are identified for 2019.”

Nicholson questioned the need for pre-budget approval as opposed to factoring it into long-term budget planning.

Taylor explained, “In this case it’s a matter of getting in line in the ordering system so it will arrive on time.”

Ultimately, the motion was carried and will be presented to committee of the whole.