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City purchases new vacuum truck
Truck will be one of two in use
vac-con truck
Pictured is an example of a Vac-Con vacuum truck like the one purchased by the City of Great Bend.

The Great Bend City Council Monday night approved a $150,710.74, 48-month, 4% interest lease-purchase agreement with First Kansas Bank for the purchase of an 2023 Vac-Con Freightliner combination truck from Red Equipment LLC. of Independence, Mo., that has a total cost of $514,216.50.

The city has some Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursement money for a trade-in for an existing truck, leaving a balance due of $353,505.76. This brings the city’s annual payments to $41,576.95.

“After doing further research, we still believe that the Vac-Con is the truck that we would like to have for our for our needs,” Public Works Director Jason Cauley said. “We are still looking for approval to do a lease-purchase.”

These are vacuum trucks used to suck water and other materials, allowing city crews to work on broken or sewer  lines, and other water leaks. They are also used for routine hydroexcavating and cleaning duties.

At the last meeting, the council tabled the purchase of the truck from Key Equipment of Kansas City. In the meantime, the dealer submitted an new quote for a higher price due to an increased chassis cost.

Despite this, Vac-Con, which produces the vacuum equipment installed in the truck, validated the original bid, Cauley said. 

This replaces a 2001 Vactor truck, and Vac-Con is offering the city a $10,000 trade-in for it, which matches what Key was offering. This brings to two the number of vacuum trucks in the city fleet.

“Despite the truck being a little more expensive, we still do believe that the truck has better capabilities in our opinion,” he said. This comes in at $13,000 more than the Vactor truck (this is the brand currently used by the city). “We have demoed the truck as well as demoed the other trucks. So we’ve had hands on with these trucks and understand what we are dealing with.”

Why this truck? 

Cauley has several reasons, but first was the warranty. The water tanks are guaranteed for life, which is good because replacing them can cost in the thousands of dollars.

Second is the water pump which offer better flow rates, and they can also be submersed in water, and pump out water and debris. “That’s pretty valuable. You can get down in there and suck out material as well as suck out the water, so  when it comes time we can have a pump hole ready,” Cauley said.

Granted, the dealer is in Missouri, but Utilities Superintendent Reuben Martin said the city was guaranteed service in 24 to 48 hours. Although Vactor has a technician locally, both vendors have the same repair time pledge, Martin said. Besides, with any major repairs, they truck will have to go to Kansas City anyway.

Council members wanted the tank warranty and the service pledge in writing. A Red Equipment representative at the meeting said this was not a problem.

“We own Vactors. They’ve served us very well. We cannot complain about the trucks,” Martin said. “It’s just there’s a couple things on the Vac-con that our guys like little better.”

He said he relies pretty heavily on what his staff says because they are the ones using the trucks.

This joins a 2016 Vactor truck already in service for the city. Cauley said it is important to have two in case an emergency arises and one truck is down.

The truck should be available for delivery by July or August.