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Concern over city streets brought up at work session

With public works being on the table during a work session this morning at city hall, issues of maintenance of the streets in Meridian was brought up by Councilman Dr. George Thomas.

Public Works Director Hugh Smtih says, “hopefully next year we’ll be able to get our numbers back up personnel-wise, to where we can go out and do the kind of service that the citizens of Meridian were used to getting in the previous year.”

The Department of Public Works has had to lay off sixteen employees, mainly in their general operations street division, in the past year due to a lack of funding. Not only does Public Works have less employees than usual, when it comes to street sweeping equipment, they only have one working unit instead of two.

“Well, it comes to resources. Right now we don’t have the level of resources to address the miles of street that we are responsible to maintain. You can’t do that with one dependable street sweeper and one that’s not. So, it really comes down to having the proper equipment and personnel to accomplish the task.” -Smith

The department currently has around 150 employees, and while the number fluctuates, there is normally around 200 employees.

“Regardless of what the situation is or what we’re left with, as a department, Pubic Works will do all they can to maintain and operate the city’s infrastructure the best way that we have the resources and personnel to do.” -Smith

Smith says the department will look into hiring more employees in the next fiscal year and that a focus on more street sweeping will be a the top of the list. Reporting at city hall, Emily Erikson, Twin States News.

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