During a parade of sweepers near city hall on Friday morning residents caught a glimpse of seven new street sweepers the city purchased in January for approximately $1.25 million.
The RAVO 5-Series machines, made in the Netherlands, were purchased by the city from Northeast Sweepers, a Belleville based distributor, for $1,246,000.
Each machine cost $178,000.
After the city had selected the company, another firm, Trius Inc., a New York based company, that submitted bids came in front of the city council to complain the city had over spent on inferior machines.
Sweepers at the New York company were priced at $139,430 each, but those were not the sweeper the department went with because, according to Christopher Coke, director of the Public Works Department, the city had been using sweepers from that company for a decade and was unhappy with the results.
Although the city is spending a great deal more on the sweepers, each machine is set to save on maintenance and repair costs, according to Coke. The old machines had “separate motors for drive and sweeper/vacuum functions” which cost much more to repair, according to the department.
The old machines were “susceptible to costly repairs which often meant having to take the machine to multiple locations resulting in added downtime,” according to the department.
The new sweepers apparently use better and different technology, according to the department. New machines use what is called “pure vacuum system,” a proprietary technology invented by the Netherland based company.
The old machines used “regenerative air system,” a type of a technology that blasts air to dislodge debris from street surfaces. Pure vacuum system is “more effective on the city’s roadways that have crowns in the center,” according to the department.
Coke touted the capabilities of the new machines during a city council meeting in January, where he compared them to the city’s antiquated fleet which he said do not clean as well.
“These machines are the latest technology in pure vacuum sweepers and will enable us to clean every street in the city once a week and every downtown street once a day,” said Jeffery Jones, the city’s mayor, in a news release issued by the city.
This is the first time the city purchased a large fleet of vehicles for any department other than the police department, according to the release.
Coke has said previously that he tested the machines during the Dominican and the Peruvian Parades last year. Employees of the department raved about the machines over its ability to sweep streets, said Coke.
Public works employees are set to receive training on how to efficiently operate the machines that will be common sight on city streets by mid-March.