NEW PORT RICHEY — People shopping for a new car might not think much of a sales pitch like this: “Only $170,000 down payment! Easy payments of $16,000! Hurry, this offer will end soon!”
But that’s actually a bargain when it comes to street sweepers, say New Port Richey city officials.
The city’s 10-year-old sweeper could cost more than $28,000 to repair, according to Public Works Director Sherman Applegate. It would make more sense to go ahead and buy a new street sweeper for $201,222, Applegate believed, and City Council agreed.
The replacement sweeper, from Tymco, based in Waco, Texas, has a stainless-steel body that should last much longer, Applegate explained, possibly 13 to 15 years.
The city department already had saved $170,000 over time toward buying a new model next year, Applegate said. Regulations that will take effect by then, however could considerably inflate the prices for street sweepers.
The city will make payments of $16,000 the next two years after the down payment.
Councilman Jeff Starkey asked how often the sweeper is used. The sweeper cleans streets each Friday, Applegate said. In addition, the vehicle comes in handy for cleanup after special events as well.
The sweeper also helps the city meet some federal regulations to limit pollution from getting into local rivers and streams, Applegate underscored.
Most likely, the current sweeper would be kept for parts since it’s a previous Tymco model.
The city’s current sweeper is showing its age, according to a memo to city council. The vehicle soon would need a replacement engine, lead fleet mechanic Bill Gregoire reported to Assistant Public Works Director Robert Rivera.
The transmission is slipping and needs repairs. The hopper needs replacement. The evaporator core on the air conditioning needs fixing. Most of the body is rusting even after several patches.
Rivera contacted Craig Cook, Tymco’s southeastern regional manager, about improvements in street sweepers if the city buys a new model.
Three basic types of sweepers are on the market, Cook explained, mechanical broom, vacuum and regenerative air.
City officials chose Tymco’s regenerative air model, which uses a blast of air and suction to remove both large debris and fine particles from the road at the same time.
Tymco’s founder invented the regenerative air process in the mid-1960s, Cook said. Tymco models have fewer moving parts, no grease fittings and no pneumatic system to help reduce maintenance, Cook said.