The Board of Selectmen approved $276,000 Tuesday to buy a new high-powered vacuum truck to pick up leaves equipped with a high-pressure water excavation system to clean out culverts and locate underground utilities without damaging them.

The truck, which will be put out to bid this fall, will replace a 35-year-old truck and 50-year-old vacuum engine and will improve the efficiency of collecting leaves by the town, Mose Saccary, the town’s highway superintendent told the board at its regular meeting Tuesday.

The town will enter a contract with Hartford-based Freightliner to build the truck, Saccary said.

“This is a piece of equipment we’ve wanted for a long time and it will make collection easier,” Saccary said.

The truck will also be equipped with a hydro-excavation system, which uses a high-pressure jet of water to break up soil near utilities and other underground infrastructure without damaging them, Saccary said.

The board also approved new welcome signs on major thoroughfares entering the town from the south and southeast near the Norwalk and Stamford borders.

The approval was requested by Assistant Director of Public Works Tiger Mann who said the town would pay for the two red and gold “Welcome to New Canaan” signs for $8,800. The signs will be put at the intersections of South Avenue and Gerdes Road at the Darien border and on Route 123 at Carter Street.

“In 2005, one of the recommendations of the downtown study was that we needed some signs coming off the Merritt Parkway,” First Selectman Rob Mallozzi III said.

The signs were designed by Keith Simpson, a local landscape architect who chose the design and appearance of the signs. Mann said the signs could be installed within a month. If well-received, a third sign could be installed on Route 106/Old Stamford Road entering the town from Stamford.

“Keith Simpson has been just invaluable in his time and effort volunteer-wise to work with us in getting the right sign, right wording and messaging and all that,” Mallozzi said. “He has just put in countless hours with his recommendations in terms of color and styling. I just can’t thank him enough for what he did.”

The board also authorized the Department of Parks and Recreation to hire roughly 60 seasonal employees, many of them instructors for the town’s before- and after-school programs for students.

Parks and Recreation Director Stephen Benko also requested permission to hire a part-time custodian who would provide weekend coverage after events at Waveny House. Benko said the extra hours are needed because of increased number of rentals of the house for special events.

“The full-time custodian is just working all the time and it is just too much,” Benko said. “With the economy improved, we’ve been doing better. For the next month, we have events nearly every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”