County officials learned about the important and diverse services provided by their public works departments at the MACo January 2015 Winter Conference. The “Roads, Runoff, Recycling, and More – Getting to Know Your Public Works Department” panel provided an overview of the services typically offered by urban and rural public works departments, including: road and bridge maintenance, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure management, snow removal, and waste and recycling collection.
Wicomico County Deputy Director of Public Works Weston Young focused on his county’s roads and solid waste divisions. Young noted that road challenges included funding and cost-effective maintenance solutions. Discussing waste management, he stated that his department’s waste funding is tied to Wicomico County’s tipping fee. Turning to recycling, he noted that while recycling requirements are imposed by the state, his program’s budget was “at the mercy of commodity prices” for recycled materials. He noted that his county was exploring regional waste management solutions and predicted that regional collaboration for rural areas would be critical to meet waste management and water pollution reduction goals.
Baltimore County Public Works Director Ed Adams (standing) explains the services provided by his department
Baltimore County Public Works Director Edward Adams, Jr. provided an overview of the duties and challenges facing an urban department. As one example of his department’s numerous responsibilities, Adams noted that it was responsible for the 404 traffic signals and 105,000 traffic signs in the county. He noted that his county has invested heavily in infrastructure maintenance and repair and stated that $15 million was pay for approximately 60 to 75 miles of road resurfacing. Adams also discussed the challenges Baltimore County faced in complying with a court-ordered consent decree for the county’s water and sewer system.
Baltimore City Council Member Rochelle “Rikki” Spector moderated the panel.