PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION
The Public Works Department is currently made up of seventeen (17) full-time employees. The Public Works Department is responsible for maintaining streets, traffic signals and signs, water distribution, wastewater collection, meter reading, sidewalks, storm water management, building and grounds maintenance, cemetery and parks groundskeeping, public right-of-way maintenance, street cleaning and refuse collection. This department provides all maintenance services within the current corporate limits, as well as responsibility for utility lines throughout the service area.
This account provides for the charging of expenses related to the overall administration of the Public Works Department. Personnel costs and materials needed to provide the various maintenance services are allocated to specific accounts elsewhere in the budget. The department is proposed to be made up of a Public Works Director, Foreman, Mechanic, three (3) Equipment Operators/Crew Leaders, eight (8) Maintenance Worker I heavy laborers, one (1) Maintenance Worker II light laborer, and two (2) Meter Readers. The Fiscal Year 2007 budget also includes funds for two (2) part-time seasonal Maintenance Worker III positions to assist in mowing and other maintenance needs for spring through fall. Costs for Public Works labor is distributed as a percentage through the various accounts associated with this department for budgetary purposes. Actual time spent in each activity is recorded on bi-weekly time sheets to charge each account appropriately.
The town has been attempting to provide adequate street lighting throughout the corporate limits to improve public safety and discourage criminal activity. Also, underground utilities and decorative street lamps on College Street, Warren Street, and Floyd Avenue, in accordance with the recently adopted Uptown Master Plan, are desired to complete the streetscape improvements began with the downtown revitalization. A Community Development Block Grant and TEA-21 Grant have been approved to assist in the costs of street lighting on South Main Street in the historic district.
This account includes costs related to the maintenance of public streets and right-of-ways within the corporate limits. The Commonwealth of Virginia provides funding to the Town to maintain arterial and collector streets within the Urban Highway System, based upon lane miles. 53.0% of all full-time Public Works salaries and fringe benefit costs have been budgeted to this account. Only those hours actually worked by employees during the year will be charged to this account, along with a comparable percentage of benefits.
Funds have been allocated to provide routine maintenance on public streets as required by the Virginia Department of Transportation. This account also provides funds for maintenance of right-of-ways and striping of highways. Major road construction or reconstruction is usually funded by VDOT and outside contractors in the 6-year plan. Replacement of the PiggRiver bridge over U.S. 220 Business South has been delayed and now is anticipated to begin construction in early-2008. Inspection reports indicate the bridge is in need of replacement and Town Council should urge VDOT to allocate funds to complete the project, which has been in the 6-Year Plan for about nine years with little progress toward moving forward. The bridge spanning Furnace Creek on the western corporate limits on Franklin Street is also recommended for substantial repairs and should be considered for full replacement in the near future as funds become available. Additional lane miles brought in the corporate limits, as a result of annexation or boundary adjustments, have increased costs of maintenance, but are offset to a degree from, additional funding from VDOT for highway maintenance.
SIDEWALKS, CURB & GUTTERS
The Public Works Department is responsible for the maintenance of sidewalks, curbs, gutters and stormwater management within the corporate limits. The maintenance costs on arterial and collector streets are funded by the Virginia Department of Transportation through their Urban Highway System. This account is used to record labor, equipment and materials used in the maintenance of existing infrastructure or for minor construction or repair of such facilities.
The Public Works Department is responsible for keeping all public streets clean and clear of debris. Some streets are cleaned using the street sweeper machine on a regular basis. Inmate labor provided by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office through coordination of the Rocky Mount Police Department helps with miscellaneous street and right-of-way cleaning.
Presently, the Public Works Department cleans main arterial streets weekly, and residential and collector streets bi-weekly, except during the autumn months when leaves may damage the equipment.
This account includes costs related to the collection and disposal of residential garbage. The Town currently imposes a mandatory collection fee of $3.00 per month to residential customers throughout the corporate limits. Non-bulk residential service is currently charged at a rate of $6.00 per month for bagged refuse. Given the number of customers that have chosen this service, Town crews must operate sanitation routes two and one-half days per week.
The capital improvement plan suggests a new garbage truck be purchased in 4 years to replace the current truck as a primary vehicle. Rates charged for garbage collection do not cover the costs of the service, much less setting aside money for the huge capital cost of replacing the truck.
The Public Works Department is responsible for snow removal and clean-up from storms to keep streets clean and passable. Activity directly related to clearing streets during inclement winter weather are tracked in this account.
The Public Works Department maintains High Street Cemetery as a public service to the citizens of Rocky Mount. These services include mowing, landscaping, and opening and closing of grave sites.
Continuous landscaping improvements should be made to the High Street Cemetery by Public Works labor and through occasional community projects with volunteers.
PARKS & PLAYGROUNDS
The Public Works Department maintains Mary Elizabeth Park, Mary Bethune Park, and jointly maintains Gilley's Park with the Franklin County Parks and Recreation Department. The Town has also agreed to maintain the Franklin County Veterans’ Memorial Park which opened in 2005. Town Council also agreed in 2006 to accept a gift of approximately 5.5 acres on Franklin Street for development of a botanical park to be named Celeste Park, and will need to begin the design and planning for its use. The Town does not have an organized recreation program, relying instead on services provided by the Franklin County Department of Parks and Recreation. Our parks are provided for passive use, utilizing playgrounds, picnic shelters, and tennis courts for non-organized play. The Town is also obligated under the terms of the 2000 annexation agreement to develop a playground in or near the Franklin Heights subdivision in the future, with costs for such included in the 5 Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Full-time labor costs for Public Works employees allocated time to maintain the grounds and equipment of these parks is budgeted at 2.25% of total labor and fringe benefits. Seasonal part-time labor is anticipated to be used in this account.
Green space design and adaptive use is a key element of not only recreation, but cultural and social events. Mary Elizabeth Park, located in the center of the historic central business district, is greatly underutilized in terms of its availability to host special events and to maximize its recreational opportunities. MaryBethunePark is also underutilized in terms of its opportunity to educate the public on its rich history. The new Veterans’ Park can be a very beneficial area as a gateway into town and its proximity to the canoe take-out on the PiggRiver.
SEWER SYSTEM OPERATIONS
The Public Works Department is responsible for maintaining the wastewater collection system to the Wastewater Treatment Plant. These lines lie both inside the corporate limits and outside for industrial and commercial development. Whenever Public Works employees, vehicles and equipment are used in servicing these lines, these costs are booked against this account to accurately reflect the true costs of providing these services. Fees are charged to the users to recover the costs of collecting wastewater and its treatment.
Routine repairs and maintenance of sewer lines are provided by Public Works. Money has been set aside for materials and supplies for miscellaneous sewer line extensions or repairs that may be required during the fiscal year. This account also includes costs to operate and maintain all sewer pump stations in the system. At present, the town has 6 stations, Green Oaks, Trail Drive, Rt. 220, Powder Mill, Altice Mill Road, and Rt. 122.
To see tax information and water and sewer fees click here.
Cecil Mason, Public Works Director
Town of Rocky Mount
345 Donald Avenue
Rocky Mount, VA 24151