The city of North Branch is getting a new street sweeper.

North Branch has been using its current street sweeper for about 20 years, which is the lifespan of the machine, said North Branch Finance Director Joseph Starks, during the April 13 City Council meeting.

The purpose of the machine is the maintenance of the city’s stormwater system and improvement of the water quality. The machine sweeps the street to remove sediments or debris to reduce the amount that enters the stormwater system that drains in the river.

A new street sweeper will cost the city about $300,000. The budget for the equipment is within the 2021 Stormwater Utility Fund Budget, Starks said. The purchase will be made with an equipment certificate paid for more than 10 years, he explained.

“The timing of it right now is advantageous, based on interest rates being at all-time lows,” Starks said.

North Branch Public Works Director Shawn Williams explained that obtaining a street sweeper through a contract won’t be cost effective.

“So we’re not going to get the time out of it if you’re looking at that option,” Williams said.

North Branch Mayor Jim Swenson requested Starks to work on creating an equipment replacement fund to invest money in.

“If we did have an equipment replacement fund right now, we would be paying for this in cash and not taking out an equipment certificate,” Starks said, responding to Swenson about the imminent purchase of a street sweeper. “So we’d be saving on interest. So it’d be even more cost effective.”

The council moved a motion to approve accepting city staff to pursue the purchase of a street sweeper, as well as applying for any grant funds for the equipment.

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