Common Council approves daily reporting procedure for DPW

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council on Aug. 13 approved a resolution establishing a daily reporting procedure for the city Department of Public Works. The measure is intended to keep the council better informed of the DPW’s progress each day while providing the city with data to determine areas of need for the department.

The approved procedure will require the DPW street maintenance supervisor to provide a daily written report to the department’s administrative assistant detailing the work assigned to each DPW employee and an end of day summary of the progress made on each task.

The following day the administrative assistant will input the information from the daily report into a spread sheet or other form to process the data of assigned work and achieved progress to be submitted to the DPW director and reported out to the mayor and Common Council.

The council resolution describes the purpose as, “to establish a reporting policy with the objectives of keeping the mayor and members of the Common Council more fully informed regarding status and progress of all projects, building the capacity of the Department of Public Works and improving the delivery of the department’s essential services to the citizens of the community.”

Mayor Vincent DeSantis on Aug. 13 noted that in recent months the city has been examining the needs of the DPW in order to complete required work, explaining that the reporting procedure will provide a more detailed view of the department’s current capabilities and areas that can be improved.

“We’re very focused on trying to make DPW’s job easier and more efficient and what this does is it gives us some of the raw data that we need to be able to really make some substantial improvement. It identifies the equipment that we need, it identifies where we should be investing money or the logistics, improving the logistics of the department,” DeSantis said.

In particular, the city finance committee has discussed options to improve the DPW’s ability to repair cracks and potholes on streets across the city which proved more challenging this spring due to the closure of the city-based Callanan Industries asphalt plant.

The closure of the local plant has forced DPW crews to travel outside of the city to obtain hot asphalt, with the associated travel time leading the substance to cool and begin hardening before DPW employees can fully distribute a truckload of asphalt to needed areas.

DPW Director Dale Trumbull has suggested options to combat the cooling materials such as purchasing a hot tar kettle and/or heated truck beds for consideration by the city finance committee.

Additionally, to improve street conditions the city awarded a contract to Dan’s Excavation to replace 90 catch basins this year at a cost of $4,875 per catch basin. The masonry holding up the catch basins is composed of bricks, likely installed in the 19th century, that are collapsing and causing sinkholes in the surrounding street surface.

The work replacing what were identified as the city’s 90 worst catch basins is currently underway and is expected to be complete this fall. The city previously identified a total of 800 catch basins in need of replacement and will consider possible future contract work for the replacement or to employ a new approach described by representatives of Dan’s Excavation to resolidify the deteriorating structures by injecting a substance into the masonry support that prevents collapse.

The city also hired a temporary summer intern this year at a rate of $12 per hour to digitize the DPW’s archived drawings who Councilman-at-Large Steven Smith is working with to perform an analysis of the city’s catch basins seeking to determine if some can be eliminated based on their proximity to other catch basins rather than replacing or repairing all of the structures.

“The Department of Public Works is so vital, it’s one of the most important departments in the city,” DeSantis said. “I think every council person would agree with me that probably at least eight out of 10 phone calls that we get are concerning the infrastructure, condition of streets from citizens. The Department of Public Works really effects the everyday life of almost every citizen in the city everyday.”

“We rise and fall on the efficacy of that department in providing essential services to the city,” DeSantis continued. “This is one of those things where both I and the council would love to have more detailed information on the inner workings so that we can better address the department’s needs. I think this is a big step forward.”

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