Editor’s note: The Nevada Appeal presented the Carson City Board of Supervisors, the mayor and city manager an opportunity for a column. City Manager Nick Marano will appear next Sunday:
The Public Works Department is the largest City department with 115 employees in 11 different divisions. Its activities touch the lives of Carson City residents and visitors on a daily basis. In addition to their daily duties, Public Works is an integral part of the City’s Emergency Operations Team and often provide backup to the Sheriff’s and Fire Department during emergencies.
The Administrative Division is usually your first contact with Public Works. It answers your phone calls and greets you at the front office. It dispatches the crews out for various emergencies, e.g. water leaks or clogged storm drains. It’s responsible for the billing for water, sewer, storm water and the landfill.
The Water Production Division is responsible for producing the water for our community, ensuring we have the water we need as well as ensuring the quality meets all drinking water standards. The Water Distribution Division is responsible for maintenance and repair of the water mains, valves and the city’s 3,800 fire hydrants. The Water Meter Division is responsible for reading, testing, repair and installation of water meters.
The Streets Division is responsible for maintaining the city’s streets and right-of-way. These duties range from crack sealing and pothole repair, to street sweeping and snow plowing, to tree care and sign maintenance, to concrete repair and weed control. It also provides traffic control for events and emergencies, as well as water tender response to the Fire Department. When we have a major weather event such as wind, you can bet the Streets Division is out in force sweeping the streets, cleaning up tree limbs and looking for any dangers that might arise. And if it snows, the plows are out at all hours clearing the streets. In the fall, it offers free limb and leaf pickup to help keep our neighborhoods clean of debris.
The Storm/Sewer Division takes care of the sewer mains throughout the city cleaning the lines to prevent sewer system backups and overflows. You may see one of its trucks parked on the side of the street. What you don’t see is the TV line that’s down in the sewer main and the computer screen in the truck that ‘s being monitored looking for clogs or damaged mains.
The Environmental Division includes the Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Landfill and Environmental Control. The Wastewater staff maintains the wastewater treatment processes, sewage lift stations, and reclaimed water distribution. Environmental Control staff perform many duties such as water quality sampling and enforcement of environmental rules and regulations, operation of the Household Hazardous Waste Program and Public Education Program, and providing assistance to the Haz-Mat Team within the Fire Department. The Landfill allows disposal of all kinds of trash, hazardous materials, and recyclables. Free landfill vouchers are handed out in the spring for Spring Clean Up.
Speaking of trash, have you driven up any of our roads on the periphery of the city? Unfortunately, you may see trash and abandoned vehicles on Mcleland Peak. Other roads you may find trash, mattresses, tree limbs, yard waste, etc. It’s all our responsibility to keep the city clean. If you know of anyone dumping illegally, please call the Sheriff’s Office.
The Electrical/Signals Division is responsible for all city traffic signals and for the electronic control systems for all of the water and wastewater facilities.
The Fleet Division maintains the city vehicle fleet of 400-plus vehicles, trailers, and motorized equipment, including mobile radio maintenance. These vehicles include fire trucks, ambulances and sheriff’s vehicles and motorcycles. They help keep the city mobile with regular vehicle maintenance as well as emergency repairs as the result of an accident or even just a flat tire.
The Engineering Division is responsible for designing, managing and constructing all city capital improvement projects, such as the MAC, the Downtown Streetscape project, and the new Animal Shelter.
The Transportation Division is responsible for managing the City Transit System – JAC (Jump Around Carson), managing the Regional Transportation Commission, and managing the Carson Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The weekly Road Report in the Nevada Appeal comes from that division. It responds to community concerns regarding traffic control, safety and the condition of infrastructure around the city. It’s instrumental in applying for and receiving grant monies to be applied to various projects around town.
As you can see, the Public Works Department is a multi-faceted department. Anywhere you look in the City, Public Works is there working, maintaining, cleaning and planning. Employees from just about every division are on call 24/7 to respond to emergencies. Much more goes on behind the scenes than you may realize, but all of these activities are what makes this community a great place to live. These dedicated people who perform these services, in most cases without notice or recognition, are accomplishing their goals.
We all have differences of opinions as to where the city is going and how our resources should be spent. Policy and financial decisions are made by the Board of Supervisors. It’s the responsibility of the Public Works Department to make it work and deliver the expected service.
Lori Bagwell is Ward 3 Supervisor. She can be reached at LBagwell@carson.org or 283-7144.