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State funding to pay for street sweeper, body cameras

STORY BY LISA ZAHNER (Week of September 9, 2021)

When Vero concluded its budget workshops, the city still had a wish list of needed items there was no money to pay for. But updated revenue numbers from the state will make two of the wished-for items a reality.

The city already owns one street sweeper truck which collects debris to keep it from going into storm drains and eventually into the lagoon. A second street sweeper plus a driver, uniforms, fuel and maintenance were on the wish list. Funded by two different pots of money collected by the state and then shared with municipality, the new street sweeper should be on the road this fall.

Mayor Robbie Brackett wanted the street sweeper placed as a high priority on the budget wish list, as he said it’s a cost-effective way to not add unwanted nutrients to the estuary, plus the city gets environmental credits for the debris collected and diverted from the lagoon.  The whole council agreed.

Lease payment on the vehicle will be $56,000 per year to be funded through state communications tax dollars, and the driver salary, uniforms, supplies, maintenance and disposal fees will cost $80,000 per year, funded via the half-cent optional sales tax. Finance Director Cindy Lawson gave the council the good news last week, and a first public hearing of the revised 2021-22 budget was set for Tuesday evening, with a replay video available at

Police Chief David Currey asked the city council for body cameras and a cloud-based video file storage system to increase accountability, and to serve as a tool for his officers while on the beat. The $57,000 to purchase the cameras and system also came from state sales tax money.

Currey said the cameras are on backorder but that they are not the type of tool his officers will unbox and put to use immediately. “We need to write a General Rule for how the cameras will be used and when, and then there’s training, so it will take a while. The body cameras are the same as the ones we have in the cars so everything will synch up,” Currey said.

The boost in state funding also freed up money to increase street resurfacing by $375,000 in the coming year, and for the next two years. Vero has had a $1.75 million backlog of street paving projects that need to be done, according to City Manager Monte Falls.