City says new better than old

Sometimes it makes more sense to bite the bullet and buy new rather than continue to repair the old.

That’s the realization the City of Warren has come to regarding its 13-year-old street sweeper.

Warren City Council, in a 5-1 vote with Sam Harvey voting in opposition, approved the purchase of a new model during last Monday night’s meeting.

Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz said on Friday that the new machine will cost $213,292. While council budgeted $50,000 for the purchase in the 2013 budget, Holtz said that the new street machine will be financed and “will be paid equally over five years.” The interest rate on the loan will be 3.13 percent.

Holtz told council on Monday night that the city has invested approximately $40,000 over the last three years “into it (the old sweeper) to keep it going.”

The new sweeper will be made by the same company, Johnson, as the current sweeper. Holtz said that the city “had a good experience” with the brand and noted that the DPW mechanic is familiar with the brand from a repair standpoint.

He also explained that the city has had some interest from municipalities interested in purchasing the used machine. Holtz asked council to put a $25,000 minimum bid on it.

“How many more glue sticks and rubber bands are left in the one we have now?” Councilman Chris Park asked.

“Not too many,” Holtz replied.

“If it’s beyond its useful life, why would anyone want it?” Harvey asked.

Holtz explained that the city sweeps all day, each week day, from April until the leaves fall. “Much smaller towns have contacted the city,” he said. “They have a much different use than us.”

“It’s realistic that we could get that price, $25,000,” he added.

City Manager Nancy Freenock told council that should it not elect to purchase the new machine now, the cost would rise $7,000.

“What would happen if we kept the old one for a while?” Councilman Dr. Howard Ferguson asked. “Does it make any sense to keep them both?”

“I don’t want to keep two street sweepers,” Holtz said.

“You never know what the next (repair) is going to be,” City Engineer Doug Sceiford said. “(It’s) being put back together just to run.”

Holtz said that city won’t look to sell the current sweeper until the new one is in service.