The Street Department is responsible for maintaining all 56 miles of existing streets within the city. In addition, the department maintains alleys and storm water lines within the city and provides other public services, such as collection of leaves and branches blown down by storms. The department responds to citizen input about various problems, including maintenance of alleys and fallen tree limbs that inhibit traffic. Resident input is an important aid in selecting and prioritizing the alleys that are to be graded during the year.
As warm weather approaches and priorities lessen, streets are swept, alleys are graded, and entire catch basins are replaced. Larger patching projects using hot mix are also completed after other departments finish digging to repair water lines, gas lines, and utility tap-in projects. When mosquitoes become a problem, the Street Department sprays “Mosquitomist One” throughout the city.
As fall arrives and the weather cools, street asphalt contracts and causes pavement problems. Then the priority for street sealing escalates, along with other seasonal services such as leaf removal for city residents.
The Van Wert Street Department has eight personnel: a department head, two mechanics, a construction-maintenance level three employee, and five construction-maintenance level one employees. Members of this department average 15 years work experience each.
The department head is responsible for department budgeting, work monitoring, and helping set priorities for department projects. The construction-maintenance level three employee has supervisory responsibilities, along with performing specialized operations of the backhoe and road grader. Construction-maintenance level one employees operate most of the other equipment within the department.
The Van Wert City Garage is located in the same building as the Street Department. In the City Garage, two mechanics operate the “fix it shop,” which is not limited to metal work and welding.
The work of these two employees probably varies more than that of any other municipal employee. For example, one project may be as simple as sanding the rust off an old meat locker and repainting it for use as a police evidence locker. The next project may entail rebuilding a large engine, such as the one pictured with this fire truck.
The workload of the City Garage also includes the repair of lawn mowers for the parks departments, routine service of police cruisers, and the repair of accessories on various city equipment.