Public Works in Transition
Jul 29, 2016 09:08AM
● By Cassie Goff
By Cassandra Goff | [email protected]
Cottonwood Heights, Utah - After two years of contracting public work services to TerraCare, the Cottonwood Heights City Council made the decision to bring public works in-house. This winter will be the first year that the city tackles snowplowing alone. In preparation, city workers have been busily working through the transition.
City Council and staff have been realizing that transitioning an entire public works department in-house is not an easy task. Many different steps have to be taken and accounted for. The goal is to have the transition completed and the new public works department fully operational by the last week of October. Despite the magnitude of this project, Cottonwood Heights is confident that the department will be ready before the first snowfall.
TerraCare discontinued their full service on July 1. However, TerraCare employees will still be seen working within the city, on a limited basis for work orders. A negotiation plan and in-house development for the transition with TerraCare has been completed. Progress for closing out the contract has been made and the deadline is set for October 28.
TerraCare has agreed to aide Cottonwood Heights with the transition and “have been a tremendous partner,” Assistant City Manager Bryce Haderlie, said.
Residents of Cottonwood Heights may have seen one of the new public work trucks around the city during Public Works Week. This truck is the first addition to the fleet.
All the needed equipment has already been identified and a schedule for when each of the new items should be within city boundaries has been set. Many of the new vehicles will be rented, leased or put on a month to month contract. This new fleet will include a street sweeper, three Ford F-550 trucks, three 10-wheeler dump trucks, three bobtail trucks and four 4x4 bobtail trucks.
To store all of this equipment, the city has purchased a new public works yard. “The biggest concern is trying to get the site prepared,” Public Works Director Matt Shipps, said.
Staff is currently looking at building options for the new site. This can be quite challenging because the site is shared with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). The city would like to have a salt storage building, a temporary office and two temporary bays on site for this winter. Progress has been made for ordering a temporary office, which should be set by August 1st. In addition, shop and salt storage construction is in progress and has been scheduled for completion by October 28.
The new department requires new personnel. City staff has been hard at work creating a list of required positions and job descriptions. A new public works director was hired on June 17. By the middle of August, the new public works department should be fully staffed.
The new hires along with additional city employees will be required to have their CDL licenses by August 19. New policies and procedures for the department will be finalized in August as well.
New snowplow driver jobs will require more extensive training. Haderlie is working to make sure new drivers don’t experience many hiccups. Inside every truck, there will be a new routing system with GPS tracking, along with a detailed book so the drivers know where to start on their route and how to handle specific difficulties. The new routing systems should be completed by September 23.
Cottonwood Heights is excited to have Danny Martinez on hire for this transition. Martinez previously worked for Salt Lake County where he specifically focused on snowplowing for the difficult roads of Cottonwood Heights.
“Danny has done incredible job at assigning equipment in the zones and laying out those areas,” Haderlie said.
With the winter season soon approaching, the Cottonwood Heights City Council is confident that the new department and equipment will provide more efficient snowplowing services for the residents.