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Mon, Nov. 18

Public Works moves forward

From right to left, Engineering Technician Senior Derle Walker and Engineering Technician Senior Jerry Williams help Jim Shipman with Kingman Town and Country Realty learn the flood zones for a piece of Mohave County property. Both Walker and Williams work within the Flood Control Division of the Mohave County Public Works Department.

From right to left, Engineering Technician Senior Derle Walker and Engineering Technician Senior Jerry Williams help Jim Shipman with Kingman Town and Country Realty learn the flood zones for a piece of Mohave County property. Both Walker and Williams work within the Flood Control Division of the Mohave County Public Works Department.

KINGMAN - The Public Works Department, the largest in Mohave County government, works each day to ensure the infrastructure of the county runs smoothly.

In 2005, Director Mike Hendrix said the department made a lot of progress in responding to emergencies while moving the department's performance forward.

In early 2005, the Beaver Dam/Littlefield area was hit with a major flood, destroying property and roads and sweeping away the Highway 91 bridge.

In response to the flood, Hendrix said the Public Works Department spent $1.1 million on emergency repairs to build a temporary bridge.

The $10 million bridge that will eventually replace it is in the works, with the federal government reimbursing most of the cost.

A cost-sharing plan will cover the cost of the $1.2 million project to reconstruct Park Place.

Another $1.2 million was spent countywide on damage repair.

Hendrix said they are working closely with the Arizona Department of Emergency Management to get 90 percent of the funds reimbursed through FEMA.

Another large project in which Hendrix said the department has made substantial progress is achieving American Public Works Association compliance.

"When I started as Public Works director a little over three years ago," Hendrix said, "Public Works embarked on a voluntary, self-motivated approach to improving our organization through the American Public Works Accreditation program."

This process, he said, benchmarks the Mohave County Public Works Department with the best department policies and procedures throughout the country.

"APWA will help us strive for continuous improvement by establishing performance standards and measurement systems, increase our effectiveness and efficiency, formalize policies and procedures, increase our level of professionalism and develop a proactive management system," he said.

Currently, the Public Works Department is about halfway through the process, Hendrix said. They are about 97 percent complete with their self-assessment; 48 percent of the assessments are in full compliance; and 20 percent of the assessments are in partial compliance. According to Hendrix, the only county in Arizona to have completed this process to date is Coconino County. Mohave County is striving to be the second.

"I do, however, believe APWA is the one biggest particular thing Public Works can do to help us achieve being the most effective organization," he said.

In the next year, Hendrix said he hopes to have continued progress on the APWA process. They are also planning to shift the Facilities Construction to the Facilities Division.

Progress is hoped for the construction of a new public works facility, which Hendrix said is still in the planning process and will take between one to one and a half years to see to completion.

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