Burbank, California recently denied a proposal to outsource its street sweeping functions to an independent contractor, fearing that this action might cause the city to slash a few jobs. More importantly, officials believe that hiring a contractor would also deny middle-class workers an opportunity to start a career in public service, acknowledging the street sweepers’ roles as the city’s “eyes and ears” at night. The Burbank Leader provides additional details about the city council’s decision to reject street sweeping bids:
Public works officials began to consider contracting the route following the retirement of a street-sweeper operator and the planned decommissioning of a street-sweeping machine, said Bonnie Teaford, the city’s public works director.
Based on cost data from other Southern California cities that outsource street-sweeping operations, she estimated outsourcing might save about $350,000 in upfront costs to replace the aging street-sweeping machine and roughly $77,000 annually in operating costs.
While it’s reassuring to see a city government value its employees, officials still have to deal with the huge costs of keeping Burbank’s streets clean. Rather than work with cleaning contractors, it may be a better idea for them to purchase a used street sweeper from a reputable seller like Haaker Equipment Company. After all, a used utility vehicle has the same features and benefits provided by a brand-new model, albeit without the higher upfront costs. In addition, a used street sweeper won’t depreciate as fast as a new vehicle, thus preserving more value and giving Burbank officials their money’s worth.
Of course, this is just one cost-cutting option available to them; they can also purchase a street sweeper that best suits their needs, considering that more-efficient sweepers incur lower costs in the long run. For instance, mechanical broom sweepers clean streets and sidewalks using conventional tools like water jets and brooms (hence the name), making them a practical and cost-effective choice for general street cleaning. These machines can also be used to keep construction sites and industrial facilities tidy and dust-free.
On the other hand, regenerative air sweepers are less expensive to maintain since they incorporate fewer moving parts. In addition, these street sweepers can be used to remove specific pollutants like fine sediments from nearby bodies of water. Perhaps their only downside is the noise they generate, which is a big issue at night when everyone’s fast asleep. That said, these vehicles are appealing for their lower operating costs, doubly so if city officials work with street sweeper rental companies.
In essence, Burbank and other cities don’t have to outsource their street sweeping functions to cut costs. Buying a used street sweeper will net sizable savings, yet still provide them with a reliable utility vehicle.
(Source: Outsourcing street-sweeping proposal nixed, The Burbank Leader, October 31, 2014)