Discussion on how to best address debris that has collected along the streets in the city led the Prairie City City Council down several avenues during a special meeting April 24. What started as a possible purchase of a street sweeper attachment with a gutter brush morphed into talks of contracting the service to an outside agency because of concern over the life of the machinery.
City administrator Joe Bartello presented a street sweeper attachment with an available gutter brush for $4,395 to the council as an option to get a handle on the debris that is flooding the city streets. Budgeted out of the street line item, $7,000 was allocated for tree trimming and street sweeping with no funds yet spent.
“We have had a number of complaints this year, especially with the winter we have had with the dirt and debris on the road,” Bartello said. “I think this would be the most versatile as well as portable.”
Initial concerns popped up over the man hours it would take to run the machine and if it would replace machinery that is already used for street cleaning. Bartello said it would probably cut down on the amount of time currently spend on street cleaning and the brush used now is also used for snow removal and cleaning after mowing.
“My concern for this thing, if we’re buying something for $4,500, is it going to hold up for five to 10 years?” councilman John Lee said. “I would like to see us get a bid on what it would cost to have someone come in and custom street weep it and have it done a lot better then in five years have it not work at we’re back here again.”
He continued that he wasn’t sure if the machinery is designed to be a long term street sweeper or if it typically used as a parking lot sweeper.
“About every street with a curb and gutter has about an inch of dirt and I’m concerned this won’t hold up for us,” Lee said.
Bartello said the city does not have very many street in town with a curb and gutter, which is why staff thought this option would be their “best bet.” He said it would take some time to get caught up on the cleaning, but once completed, general maintenance should go smoothly.
Councilwoman Christy Lindsay asked if the city currently has a service cleaning the streets. City clerk Cindy Kane said the city previously had a contract with the City of Colfax but after Colfax decided to discontinue that service, it has not been completed.
“I have heard an enormous amount of complaints just being uptown on the dust and debris on our square,” Kane said. “We’ve had big concerns.”
The council decided to have city staff look into an additional option of hiring a cleaning service and tabled the topic for another meeting.
“To say this will answer all of our problems I’m a little concerned with that, in the long term,” Lee said.
In other business
• Council approved the extension of gas distributions mains and systems on South Norris Street for properties at 701, 703 and 705 S. Norris Street. MidAmerican Energy Company will construct the mains.
• The second reading for the fiscal year 2019-2020 water utility rates, sewer utility rates and solid waste utility rates was approved. The third and final reading on the ordinances will take place at the May 8 along with possible adoption of the rates.
Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or firstname.lastname@example.org