Taylor streets and drainage has not been satisfactory to city officials and people in the community, but the city’s public works department has some suggestions.
On March 25, the state of the department’s streets and grounds division was presented during a Taylor City Council meeting. City staff has been presenting the status of municipal departments over the past couple of months.
“We still get constantly visited with citizens who would like us to be doing more,” said Jim Gray, Taylor public works director. “However, we do show a good trend in the last four years of continually improving our streets and using more materials getting them to the streets and we expect this to go on and to eventually get into even additional programs to be able to shape streets as we go and to do this work in-house.”
The street and grounds division of Taylor’s public works department is responsible for maintaining city streets, rights of ways, drainage ways, city-owned sidewalks, street signs, pavement markings, parkland, the municipal airport, public properties and the city cemetery.
Since 1876, the street and grounds division has grown to include 16 staff members in a history that’s grown from a budget of reportedly $1,200 in 1920. The street and grounds budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year budget was $1,725,917.
“That’s exceptionally interesting for the difference where we are now,” said Gray.
The public works director discussed what the street and grounds division, does, how often, the demand for service and more. He credited the department with much strength, including experience.
“This staff, actually in my opinion, (is) a little above a lot of towns our size,” said Gray.
However, he noted a lack of personnel and funding for materials and equipment as the city’s population increases and projects grow.
“We’re going to have to look at the hours to perform those,” said Gray, “and then are we going to add people, are we going to contract or are we going to take services away?”
Priorities for the department are street repair, equipment purchases, maintenance and increased staff. With approximately 17 employees now, the department looks to add another cemetery worker and two grounds workers to assist with maintenance for Main, Second and Fourth streets in particular.
“That could either be an increase of staffing or that could be a contract,“ said Gray. (Contracting) would be approximately $100,000. The three-person personnel could be approximately $120,000. … Second, Main and Fourth street (grounds maintenance), we calculate our man hours at that as 5,600.”
In public works’ five-year capital improvement plan, equipment requests a total of $1,821,000. However, if only one item could be purchased next year, a $56,000 pneumatic roller is the highest priority.
For more on the state of the city’s public works department, visit https://taylortx.swagit.com/play/03252021-856/9.