The Department of Public Works is the largest and most diverse of the city’s departments and includes the Parks Department, Sewer Department and Water Department.
It provides such services as snow plowing, sanding/salting, street repairs, traffic control, tree trimming, leaf pick-up, brush collection, park maintenance, making compost, fleet maintenance, and public area maintenance, to name just a few. The Public Works Department also assists other organizations as necessary, especially during the city’s festivals and peak summer season.
City Street Network
The city has 3.2 miles of major streets and 7.8 miles of local streets that it is responsible for maintaining. The state of Michigan provides some funding for city streets through the sharing of gas tax revenues as authorized by Public Act 51 of 1951. With state gas tax revenues declining, the city is receiving less revenue each year for street projects.
It is hoped that the legislature will address this funding crisis at some point. In any event, even without these decreases, the Act 51 revenue does not nearly cover the full costs associated with maintaining our streets. It is necessary to supplement these funds with tax revenue, other locally generated funds and/or grants.
Regular street maintenance involves identifying problem areas and using techniques such as crack sealing and hot patching to help preserve the integrity of the pavement.
The city has a street sweeper / cleaner which it uses to clean city streets. Regular cleaning makes city streets more attractive, but more importantly, keeps sand and debris from clogging storm sewer catch basins. This is important to prevent water from ponding and/or flooding areas.
The city prides itself on its excellent snow removal. School routes, U.S.10 and Downtown areas are the priority when it comes to plowing. City Parking lots, downtown sidewalks, and the Central Business District are contracted to private companies for snow removal.
Asset management is defined by state law as: “An ongoing process of maintaining, upgrading, and operating physical assets cost effectively, based on a continuous physical inventory and condition assessment.”
City Asset Management
The City maintains a street asset management plan to systematically guide the city’s future street projects and maintenance.
The City has invested several million dollars in its streets, sewer, and water network. That level of investment was predicated on bonds, leveraging grants, and reconstructing streets in conjunction with the sewer projects. Without additional revenue sources such as grants and loans, that level of investment cannot continue in the future.