City in need of new trash trucks


The Seymour Department of Public Works is in need of trash trucks, but they don’t come cheap.

Both of the city’s automated “robo-trash” collection trucks have blown engines and are no longer in operation, said department director Bill Everhart.

The trucks are 2009 models and typically have an eight- to 10-year lifespan.

It has been three to four months since the first truck quit working, and the second one quit a month ago, Everhart said.

A single truck has a price tag of $323,000, so to purchase two, the city must come up with $646,000.

Mayor Craig Luedeman is working on lease-to-own options so the city doesn’t have to have all of the money upfront to purchase them, Everhart said.

The board of works and safety approved Everhart’s request to get the new trucks during a meeting Thursday.

“Now, we’re working on how to finance them,” Everhart said.

The department won’t have enough money in its landfill account until next spring, so Everhart is pursuing grant money through the Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Fund program.

In 2017, Indiana received nearly $41 million from a $2.7 billion settlement federal regulators reached with Volkswagen after it was learned the German automaker cheated diesel emissions tests for more than five years.

The money must be used on projects to offset excess pollution from diesel emissions, including replacing diesel trucks and implementing idle reduction technology.

In the meantime, the department of public works has been forced to use its older rear-load packers to pick up residents’ trash.

It’s not an ideal situation, Everhart said.

For one thing, it’s less efficient because instead of using just one driver, it takes a crew of three people to run the rear-load trucks.

“It slows everything down,” Everhart said.

There’s also the increased liability for worker injuries because they are lifting bags and trash cans. With the automated trucks, a robotic arm does the lifting.

The rear-pack trucks do have tippers installed on them, but the workers still have to handle the trash cans, Everhart said.

How fast the city can get a new truck depends on if there is one available or if it will have to be built to order.

“We would like to have it today, but the dealers we work with through the national bidding process only have a certain number of trucks in stock,” Everhart said. “If they have to have them built, it will be 10 to 12 months before we get one.”

No posts to display