Purchase expected to save $40,000 annually in contracting costs

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Schwarze A7000 Street Sweeper should arrive in July. Looking to recoup costs, the city is investing in its own street sweeper.

On Monday, the city council approved the purchase of a new street sweeper, as suggested by Public Works Director Lance Calvert.

The $217,999 Schwarze A7000 Street Sweeper from Enviro-Clean Equipment Inc. will be used to clean city streets and reduce the spread of stormwater pollutants to nearby creeks.

The model is new and meets all current emission standards, according to Calvert.

Once it is ordered, the sweeper should arrive for use around July, meaning its costs would be accounted for on the 2014-15 city budget.

The proposed city budget for 2014-15 allots $240,000 in environmental services funding for the acquisition of the street sweeper.

The city plans to use in-house staffing, rather than contract sweeping, to keep annual costs at a minimum.

Part of that $240,000 budget accounts for the addition of a part-time sweeper driver position.

“One of the things we worked on with this budget was to get more efficiency, and one of the things we looked at specifically was our street sweeping operations — rather than contracting out those operations, to bring them in internally,” Calvert said.

Calvert said the sweeper’s lifespan should be around 10 years.

Currently, the city relies on outside contractors for its street sweeping services. Though it does have an in-house sweeper, it is at the “end of its useful life,” according to Calvert, and is only used in select situations — after a parade, or to clean up after a major traffic accident.

The current outside contract for sweeping adds up to about $100,000 every year, according to Calvert.

Over the projected 10-year lifespan of the new sweeper he found the city would save $40,000 annually by eliminating that contract.

Councilor Thomas Frank inquired about the possibility of leasing the sweeper, rather than purchasing it outright, to free up funds for other projects.

Calvert said that while it was certainly an option to spread the cost over time, the city would also have to deal with annual interest on the lease.

City Manager Chris Jordan added that an outright purchase would not result in the deferral of any other capital projects.

“This acquisition is planned as part of the five-year capital improvement plan,” Jordan said. “And we can still do all the relevant projects we would plan to do otherwise.”

In the end, the proposal was approved by a 3-1 vote. The single “no” vote came from Frank. Mayor John Kovash was absent from the meeting.

“Any time we can save the interest, that makes sense to me,” said Councilor Jody Carson. “If we have the money in the budget, it certainly makes sense to me to do this.”

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