The City of Altus Street Department has finally seen the end to their long wait for a new street sweeper. It has been a few years since the city streets have had a proper cleaning. In January 2013 the old street sweeper was involved in an accident, and since then, the department has been trying to get it replaced.
An equipment purchase of this magnitude is very expensive and funding had been a major player in the long wait for new equipment. According to Altus Street Commissioner Chad Osborne, the purchase of the new street sweeper was funded through the “Street and Alley Fund”, which has accumulated over the years of saving the percentage the Street Department receives from the State Fuel Tax. Osborne explained that there will not be an extra bill to the citizens for this purchase.
Once funding were obtained, the department then had to wait another six months for the street sweeper to be built.
“We’re very proud of it [the street sweeper]. Sweeping the streets is a city function that people don’t think about until it doesn’t get done,” said Osborne.
“When the city has events like Rock and Rumble and Walk on Chalk, we have to clean it up. We can’t just leave it there and not having this equipment means it gets done by hand,” Osborne added.
It has taken the equipment operators in combination with employees from other departments, and inmates, sometimes totaling 40 people, with brooms to manually get the streets cleaned after an event. Most recently, a truck spilled a long trail of seeds which had to be cleaned up manually.
“Not having this equipment has meant we haven’t been as efficient as we could be, so we are ready to get it on the road,” Osborne said. “This is progress. We’re really trying to get things cleaned up and looking nice.”
Osborne says that all roads in town will get cleaned. After the initial cleaning, the plan is to clean the main roads weekly and to clean the residential areas a few times a year.
Osborne also hopes that the citizens will be just as excited about this as they are.
Reach Tinita at [email protected]