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Victoria looks to improve street sweeping program (w/video)

By Melissa Crowe
Jan. 16, 2014 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 16, 2014 at 7:17 p.m.

Slowly working his way along the streets of downtown, Jason Carson guides a large vacuum truck along the curbs collecting leaves and loose gravel.

By this time next year, Victoria could have streets clean enough to eat off - not that anyone would want to.

Public Works Director Lynn Short is weighing his options for the street sweeping program, which has been down a vehicle for the past year.

"If all sweepers are operating effectively, we would sweep your street every six to eight weeks," he said.

As a result of mechanical problems, which have cost the city $106,707 during the past three years, the sweepers might come into a neighborhood once every three to four months, Short said.

For major thoroughfares such as Navarro Street and Houston Highway, the normal two- to three-week window is at every two to three months, he said.

Although Bob Long, co-owner of Shop the World, 6902 N. Navarro St., said he has not seen a change in the street condition, a few blocks south, people are noticing.

Jonathan Arterberry, manager of Uncle Mutt's Bar-B-Q, 5404 N. Navarro St., said he thinks the streets should be kept more tidy.

"Even sweeping monthly would be great, especially with the summer coming up," he said. "That's when all the dust starts blowing in."

Short said the majority of the mess comes from leaves, sand and dirt blowing off vehicles.

While City Manager Charmelle Garrett said she wants to include funding to replace one sweeper and to purchase an additional one to increase the fleet, Short said there could be other options.

Contracting out the program could be a cost-saver, but the city would need to keep at least one sweeper to respond to calls, Short said.

Another option might be to rent the equipment.

"We're just working on figures now," Short said.

Depending on what city officials decide, Jason Carson, who has driven a sweeper for the past four years through Victoria, could see a change in his position.

Carson described the process as driving a huge vacuum.

In all Victoria, the downtown neighborhoods have the dirtiest streets, he said, mainly because of old trees dropping their leaves.

With the cost of a new sweeper about $250,000, Short said he is carefully considering the options.

"We have just under 500 miles of curb in the city to sweep," Short said. "We're trying to improve our program.

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