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Greater transparency, accountability aim of public works restructuring

The structure of Boulder City’s public works department could be changing to provide more transparency and accountability.

According to the city code, public works handles utility maintenance and the electrical system. Bill 1827, introduced at the June 26 City Council meeting, would allow for those responsibilities to be moved to a new utility department.

“The city is looking to restructure because the utilities department is responsible for critical services for the community,” said City Manager Al Noyola. “It makes sense to have a structure in place that allows for better transparency, oversight and accountability.”

According to the bill, the new utilities department would have its own director and handle the planning, maintenance and day-to-day operations of water, wastewater, landfill and electric services.

Each utility would operate as a separate business center and oversee its utility rates and increases. Each could also be adjusted annually due to capital, operation and maintenance costs.

According to city documents, the utility revenues, expenditures and funding will be represented in one overall utilities budget, and the director would provide “specialized expertise and executive management oversight.”

Creating the utilities department would affect public works. Going forward it would direct, manage and oversee infrastructure design and construction, fleet management and facilities maintenance.

In addition, public works would forecast the need for additional operating funds, monitor and approve expenditures, and monitor and evaluate service delivery methods and procedures, ensure service compliance, and identify improvement opportunities. It would still be in charge of maintaining city property.

This change was proposed less than a month after the city and its former Public Works Director Scott Hansen parted ways on June 18. At that time, Noyola said that he had been doing some “organizational reviews” and there would reorganization in city operations.

Bill 1827 also allows for the city code chapters to be renumbered, accounting for the new department.

Council will consider the bill at its meeting July 10.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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