What Kerry County Council spent €4.1 million on in its machinery yard

Kerry County Council’s Machinery Yard spent €4.1 million last year (2018).

Kerry County Council revealed the total costs for their Machinery Yard over the past five years in a number of categories, including wages, maintenance costs, overheads and fuel costs.

Eamonn Hickson has been looking through the figures. Give me an overview of costs for 2018?

€2.47 million was spent on staff wages in 2018, which represents an increase of 18% on 2017’s costs.

Repair and maintenance costs also increased, up over €155,000 to €664,000.

Fuel costs totalled €523,000–up nearly €75,000 year-on-year–while overheads and office costs increased by 33% to over €180,000.

External plant hire costs for 2018 increased by €44,000 to €150,000, while miscellaneous costs decreased to €196,000.

This means the total cost of the council’s machinery yard increased by 19%, or €655,000, to over €4.185 million last year.

Kerry County Council says expenditure is dependent on the level of road grants received, as well as variations in fuel costs.

Was there any explanation of costs?

The cost of external plant hire is for plant without a driver, which is then operated by council staff and the increase in cost in 2017 and 2018 was for the lease of a durapatcher. The council is awaiting the delivery of two durapatchers.

The miscellaneous costs include taxing and insuring vehicles, as well as protective equipment for drivers and maintenance staff.

Previously, KCC told us that maintenance costs “include repairs carried out by council staff and also, where necessary, mechanics/garages. It also includes the replacement of parts and specialist parts on specialist equipment. It doesn’t include fuel, tax or insurance. The costs would also relate to the 13-week inspections on trucks, JCBs etc which are required as part of road safety regulations and a rigorous safety inspection regime which the council has in place.”

As for who does the repairs, KCC said “a lot of it can be done ‘in house’ so to speak but sometimes repairs might need external intervention so its outsourced to local mechanics/garages.”

In relation to overall costs, which increased by over €650,000 last year, the council says expenditure is dependent on the level of road grants received, as well as variations in fuel costs.

A list of fuel costs was given out at a monthly meeting of Kerry County Council earlier in 2018. What figures stood out to you?

The list was given in response to a motion from Councillor Niall Kelleher, who had submitted a similar query as I had to the council.

The fuel costs on their own didn’t mean too much, as we’d no information on what work had to be done, what hours they’d done, etc.

However, when I compared it to information about maintenance costs which I had received some while back, a number of items stood out.

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Fiat Ducato Maxi – 2006 version

Fuel €4,750

Maintenance €15,825

2006 version on Done Deal = €4,500 with a tipper. The stated annual maintenance cost, could purchase a 2015/2016 version.

JCB – which is referred to as JCB no 2 by council staff – 1998 version 

– 8,100 hours (which is not a lot = 385 hours/year) I had suspected its annual workload was small –

Fuel cost – €235 – in previous years, totals vary from €303 – €647 over the past five years.

Annual Maintenance – €16,131

This means that for every euro of fuel it burned, €68 was spent on maintenance.

The council has three other JCB excavators (Numbers 1, 3, 4)

Total fuel cost of 10,152

Total maintenance for the four machines, all 1998 versions: €59,000

Low Loaders – which are used to transport machinery around. They’re basically a trailer and need a lorry or tractor unit to use them.

Two listed, a 2000 and a 2001 version, with €7,600 and €15,700 in maintenance costs respectively.

What can you get for that amount?

From www.farmandplant.ie

NEW Herbst 27ft low loader tandem axle trailer with ramps & bucket well, hydraulic & air brakes. £ 12,250.00 + vat.

Granted, maybe KCC would need a larger trailer. No specific details were given in relation to the low loader in the council’s possession.

There are larger one, tri-axle, which cost between €20-40,000.

Two Maint Graders – machine that level road surfaces during construction – KCC referred to them as Grader No 3 Caley and Grader No 5 Caley – they are 33 and 29 years old respectively

Fuel costs for last year = €545

The total maintenance costs for last year totalled = €6,200 –

Granted, they are specialist machines – but with €545 worth of fuel, they did almost no work last year – every euro spent on fuel resulted in €12 worth of maintenance. Indeed, the five-year fuel costs for both these machines totalled = €2,550 for two machines working for five years each – maintenance costs were only given for 2018 though.
Are there more instances were annual maintenance costs exceeded the value of the vehicle, or go very close to the value of the vehicle?

·         A Scania tractor unit – 1995 (24 years old) – nearly €11,000 in annual maintenance

·         Scania lorry – 1997 with 543,000km – over €20,000

·         Mitsubishi Canter – 2005 – 454,000 km – €9,597 per year – I found a 2006 one with a tipper, half the mileage, for sale for a cost of €4,500.

·         Three Scania, 1995 and 1996s, with nearly €29,000 in maintenance costs.

·         Toyota Hiace van – 2001 – 182,000 km on it – €1,947 per year in maintenance costs – you could hardly give that van away – I couldn’t find any online for sale – a 2004 version was on sale for €1,750, which is less than the annual maintenance costs.

·         A selection of 10 lorries, Scania and Renault, €162,000 in maintenance – all in years between 1995-2007

·         Bulk tipping trailer – 2006 version – €8,379 in maintenance – the KCC records do not state what size of a tipping trailer this is – there was also €20 of fuel allocated to it in 2018.

Eamonn Hickson - Information broadcast Summer 2019 - Page compiled December 2019