Forty Fort, Luzerne County -- A Forty Fort Public Works crew did a little spring cleaning Thursday with the help of a street sweeper. It's the first time borough workers got to use the $131,000 specialized truck. Forty Fort didn't have to foot the entire bill for the pricey equipment. "Oh. we couldn't financially do that. It would be too expensive," said Forty Fort Borough Manager Barbara Fairchild. Instead, the street sweeper was purchased with pooled funds through the West Side Council of Governments. Forty Fort is one of ten Wyoming Valley boroughs that makes up the barely one-year-old inter-government group. "One of the best benefits is to be able to say we're able to work together and not have each of us purchasing and wasting taxpayer dollars," said Ms. Fairchild who is also secretary for West Side Council of Governments.
"Something of this magnitude has never been tried before," said Joe Olejnick, who owns a construction company and is also a councilman for Swoyersville which is part of the West Side Council of Governments. After seeing the street sweeper clean the streets of Forty Fort, Mr. Olejnick is eager for his borough to use the shared equipment. "It looked fantastic to me and I hope it runs well."
Forty Fort resident PJ Montante noticed what the street sweeper crew did on her road. "Yeah, they did a nice job." Ms. Montante lives along Slocum Street which was among the Forty Fort roads that got a good cleaning. She said her road "...gets the dust and gravel and everything that comes from big trucks coming from the quarry and all of the through traffic. So, it is pretty nasty and dirty."
Cleaner streets is just one of the benefits of cooperation among the West Side Council of Governments. The cluster of towns is teaming up on other projects, too. Several of the Council of Government communities combined to purchase of a Vactor sewer cleaning truck as well as other shared equipment. "In an era of no cooperation, this is really nice," said Ms. Montante.
The street sweeper will be shared and stored by Edwardsville, Exeter, Forty Fort, Kingston, Larksville, Plymouth, Swoyersville, West Pittston, West Wyoming and Wyoming. Kingston will maintain the sweeper.