CAIRO — The Cairo City Council voted this week to purchase a pricier piece of road machinery than what was available to them, though not without good reason, they say.

The $221,500 Tymco 600 street sweeper the council voted to purchase Monday is more durable and familiar than a cheaper option the city had available, said City Manager Chris Addleton.

"It just didn't feel like it would last," Addleton said of the Victory Mark III — the $135,500 sweeper he recommended the council not purchase due to a troubling demo that he said revealed durability issues with the machine.

"I really wanted to make it work, but when we demoed it. it was pretty obvious."

The city's current street sweeper, a 22-year-old Tymco model, has "served its useful life," Addleton wrote in a memo to the council. The aging machine has not been used in about two years due to maintenance issues, and salvage value is minimal.

City officials sought quotes for newer machines and received three responses, with Addleton recommending to the council that they approve the more expensive Tymco model due to its larger size, performance, durability and brand familiarity.

Council member Jerry Cox questioned the somewhat rare move of rejecting a lower bid — in this case a decision that would cost the city an additional $86,000.

"I respect the reasons why you want to go with that higher priced unit, but we're talking about $86,000 more," said Cox, who added that he believes the city needs a new street sweeper.

Addleton said he believed the cheaper unit was built to last a decade while the pricier Tymco, which the city is already familiar with, was designed to last 20 years.

"That has nothing to do with the warranty," he said, "it's just an observation on demoing the two units."

The city manager also noted that the Tymco is serviced out of nearby Albany, which along with neighboring Thomasville uses similar model street sweepers that could make sharing the equipment easier should the need arise. In contrast, the manufacturer of the Mark III is based in Huntsville, Alabama, and Addleton said the company is also newer and lacks Tymco's reputation.

The council ultimately approved the purchase of the Tymco model unanimously.

Funds for the new machine will acquired from revenues from the transportation special purpose local option sales tax (TSPLOST), though Council member Jimmy Douglas suggested that "alternative financing" options are not out of the question.

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