City of Chehalis moves to purchase new street sweeper


During Monday’s Chehalis City Council meeting, the council voted 6-1 — with Councilor Kevin Carns in opposition — to move forward with the purchase of a 2023 Schwarze A7 Tornado street sweeper vehicle.

Currently, the city has two street sweepers, a 1995 Mobile Street Sweeper and a 2003 Elgin Crosswind, and both are long overdue to be replaced, Chehalis Street Superintendent Fritz Beierle said.

“The 1995 model, which would be the one we’d replace, it would go into surplus,” Beierle said. “As of right now, when we run it, if something breaks down, I can’t call a supplier and get parts. I have to have them (custom) made.”

While replacement parts for the 2003 Elgin are still available, the street sweeper frequently breaks down.

“In the last three weeks, it spent 40 man-hours in the shop getting repaired,” Beierle added.

The approved 2024 Chehalis city budget has $550,000 — coming from the city’s automotive equipment reserve fund and the storm and surface water capital fund — set aside to purchase a new street sweeper, and the cost of the 2023 Schwarze A7 is $427,027.

Beierle chose to get the Schwarze after having his department test it alongside street sweepers from other manufacturers. He also contacted other municipalities in the Pacific Northwest to ask which street sweepers they had and how they liked them.

“I talked to my guys, and we came to an agreement that the Schwarze A7 was probably the ultimate machine for us,” Beierle said. “It pulled harder up the hills. It sounded better.”

While the city has money budgeted for a new street sweeper and he understood the need for a new one, Carns asked if the city should still consider financing it with a looming budget deficit projected in Chehalis over the next few years.

“Originally, we had talked about potentially financing this, because we can get such a great rate through the state process,” Carns said. “This is a large expenditure.”

While looking into financing was an option the council could have taken, Chehalis City Manager Jill Anderson said it would delay the purchase process. Beierle added the city could miss out on the 2023 Schwarze A7 and have to buy a 2024 model at a higher cost.

Chehalis Mayor Pro Tem Daryl Lund voiced support for financing the street sweeper as well, and instead using the funds on other vehicles the city will need to replace including its aging ambulance. Ultimately, he voted in favor of the purchase as presented.