QUESTIONS were raised by councillors about why the cost of replacing Powys County Council (PCC) vehicles has shot up by £1,100,000.

At the full council meeting on Thursday, January 23, councillors were asked to approve a ‘virement’ of £3,222,000 and move money from one PCC account to another.

The report said that the Vehicle Replacement Programme had gone up by £1,100,000 from the original estimate of £2,122,000.

It adds that: “The budget increase will be funded from the Transport and Equipment Fund which is a revenue reserve.”

The report adds that: “Vehicles have a long lead time and are usually manufactured to order.”

Cllr Jake Berriman (Liberal Democrat – Llandrindod North) said: “This is a straightforward issue of moving money across from one year to the next, but there is a broader issue: given the slippage involved are we still happy that our procurement strategy provides best value for money?”

Finance and Transport Portfolio Holder, Cllr Aled Davies (Conservative – Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant & Llansilin) replied: “This is about moving money between different funding streams – we at all times try and achieve best value for money.”

Cllr Gwilym Williams, (Conservative – Disserth and Trecoed) said: “I have concerns – as are we changing the vehicles on age or mileage?

“Some vehicles may be older but have low mileage.”

Corporate director for economy and environment, Nigel Brinn, answered: “We own the vast majority of our vehicles with the exception of the gritters which we lease.

“We typically replace our vehicles on a seven year cycle, otherwise it’s whether they are beyond economic repair.”

Mr Brinn added that the recycling vehicles would need to be replaced soon.

Cllr Williams, replied: “I understand that, but if a vehicle is seven years old and has low mileage, should we be changing them?”

PCC chair, Cllr Beverley Baynham (Independent – Presteigne) said: “I think the question has been answered.”

The virement was approved by 62 votes with one vote against and one abstention.