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Tue, Oct. 15

Public Works strives to keep up with county growth

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Public Works Department has continued over the past year to up the ante on county maintained infrastructure.

The mission of the Public Works Department, according to Director Mike Hendrix, is "to serve its citizens by delivering quality public works service with the efficient use of resources to enhance the lives of those served."

The expansive growth in the county has caused the Public Works Department to expand their services; however, they have been able to improve despite the challenges before them, Hendrix said. Since the beginning of 2005, paved roads maintained by the county have increased by 11 percent, right of way permit applications have increased by 40 percent, flood plain use permits have increased by 30 percent, the Golden Valley Improvement District new meter requests have increased by 23 percent, parcel plat review has increased by 23 percent and property flood plain information requests have increased by 184 percent, Hendrix said.

The Landfill Division, headed by Assistant Public Works Director Nick Hont, "is entirely self-sufficient with both county landfills in compliance with state and federal regulations and operating solely on a user fee basis with no tax contributions," Hendrix said.

These landfills also fund the county's free "Household Hazardous Waste Collection Days" held frequently around the county as well as the Rural Area Cleanup and Enforcement Program designed to combat wildcat dumping.

"We are also in the process of designing, permitting and constructing septic waste holding ponds at our Cerbat Landfill to handle the septic waste generated in the central Mohave County areas," Hendrix said.

The Flood Control District Division, headed by Philip Wisely, administers the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood control plan, according to Hont. During 2005, the division was able to reduce the flood insurance premiums countywide through participation in FEMA's Community Rating System Flood Insurance Reduction Program. This effort reduced the premiums around the county by 10 percent.

The Flood Control District Division received $1,000,000 in funding from FEMA in order to restudy and update the county's flood insurance rate maps from the 1970s and early 1980s. The update, according to Hendrix, will be supplied in a digital format that will be compatible with the county's GIS system. This product, Hendrix said, is at the public comment stage and should be completed, and approved by FEMA, by the beginning of next year.

The Fleet Services Division is in charge of the county's motor pool and the heavy equipment maintenance. Headed by Noval Wright, this division, according to Hendrix, maintains over 590 vehicles and 300 pieces of equipment.

"Fleet Services has done a remarkable job in moving us towards a more effective organization with our Vehicle Use and Fleet Management Plan by right-sizing our fleet, improving the fleet's quality, and also by improving labor efficiencies across the board," Hendrix said.

The Windshield Repair Program managed by this division generates a 50 percent or better savings, Hendrix said, over using outside vendors. In 2003, the average mileage of the county's fleet was about 150,000 miles, Hendrix said. The average mileage of the fleet today is less than 70,000 miles.

The Improvements Districts, headed up by Zelda Wright and the Water Systems Divisions, headed by Peter Kaleta, handle the requests for new projects within improvement districts.

There are 72 petitions circulating for new projects, Hendrix said, with 11 nearing completion with the required 51 percent. They have also seen a 25 percent increase in meter requests, Hendrix said.

This division paid two bonds off early for a total savings of $63,980, and delinquent assessments are only 1 percent.

The Parks Division handles the infrastructure of the county-maintained parks. Mohave County manages the Hualapai Mountain Park and Davis Camp. Headed by Shawn Blackburn, Hendrix said the division is currently modernizing both parks by installing new restrooms and armadas at Davis Camp and installing a new visitors center, general store and remodeled cabins at Hualapai Mountain Park.

The Facilities Division, headed by Jed Noble, would be taking an increasing role in the department this year, Hendrix said, at least with regard to county building and remodeling projects.

"The big change in facilities is the combining of the facilities manager position with the engineering manager position which was to oversee the county's facility construction projects," Hendrix said.

Currently, Noble is overseeing the remodeling of the Parks Visitor Center, the justice court, the Negus remodel and the health department remodel. Progress has been made, Hendrix said, on leaky roofs and final removal of asbestos.

The Records Division has been working on the electronic archiving of all maps and files and making road maps, drawings and over half the road files available for viewing on Laserfiche. This process, Hendrix said, has cleared up a significant amount of space and created a more efficient way of accessing and storing materials.

The E.R.A.C.E. program has been averaging 36 criminal litter cases per month and their community cleanups over the past year collected 499 tons of household waste, Hendrix said.

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