Year in review: Springfield Public Works releases 2021 annual report
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - From creating and maintaining city streets to designing and overseeing new facility construction, Springfield Public Works is always on the move. Now, it’s released its 2021 annual report. The report gives residents a look at what the department accomplished, what challenges it faced, and what millions of dollars were spent on over the course of the year.
Public Works Director Dan Smith says the challenges they had to overcome changed as the year progressed. The first couple of months were filled with pandemic-related adjustments, like adjusting schedules to make sure crews could work safely.
“Things like the requirements to wear masks and keep adequate distance between our folks did create some real challenges,” explains Smith.
The challenges did not end there though. Smith says as the year progressed, the department started to hit roadblocks because of supply chain issues, workforce shortages, and inflation. Those are all problems that the department is dealing with five months into 2022.
“We are not able to hire all of the people we need just to do the maintenance work on the streets,” says Smith. “The cost of materials is going up as well. So that’s created issues with timelines because things are taking longer to come in, it’s taking longer to do the projects, and it’s costing more. And so that is a concern that we have as we see those costs escalate.”
Even with those challenges, Smith says it was still a busy year. The department did rehabilitation work on 129 miles of city streets, more than in both 2019 and 2020. The department also built or improved more than 5400 feet of multi-use trails, and installed more than 4600 feet of new sidewalks. The Clean Green Springfield initiative was started, and new flashing school zone lights were installed at schools like Pipkin Middle School.
The department’s budget was also higher than in the previous two years -- hitting $53,499,169. Five percent of that budget was comprised of grant funding, up from around two percent the previous years, helping to combat the higher costs of materials caused by inflation. That’s a trend Smith thinks will continue, at least through the remainder of 2022.
“With ARPA funding and with the federal infrastructure bill, we do anticipate having additional grant funds coming to the community,” says Smith. “We’re watching for those opportunities even right now.”
Smith says 2021 was a good year overall, earmarked with a return to some version of normalcy after the pandemic.
“Our folks just did a fantastic job pulling together and making things happen even with the challenges that we had,” says Smith. “And so, 2021 ended up being a good year.”
If you want to take a look at the 2021 annual report, you can find it here: https://www.springfieldmo.gov/DocumentCenter/View/58338/Public-Works-AR-2021_FINAL-web
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