Public Works staff doing more with less

12 years ago

Public Works staff doing more with less


by Dana H. Fowler

    One of the challenges facing municipal government today is how to do more with less money. Funds from Maine State Revenue Sharing have decreased by hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for the city of Presque Isle over the last several years. This has put a lot of pressure on local government to look for ways to reduce expenses, increase revenues, and do more with less.

Contributed photo/Martin Puckett

    BETTER BIKE PATH — City employees have been re-surfacing the community bike path near Pine Street this summer. On the job are, from left, Deputy Public Works Director Larry DeMerchant and Todd Hitchcock on the paving machine followed by Glenn LaFrance on the roller.  ED-InCity-dcx-sh-39

    The Public Works Division has just completed their major asphalt paving projects for the season and we may have made history with one of our paving projects. For the first time, we performed paving with our own crew that produced a significant savings to the city.
    The Recreation and Parks Department had enough funds to pave 1,500 lineal feet of 8-foot wide bike path, if the work was done by a private contractor. Public Works took on the challenge doing the work ourselves to save money. Our goal was to be able to pave a longer distance of the bike path with the funds that were available.
    There were several hurdles that had to be overcome in order for us to perform the paving ourselves. First, we needed someone with paving expertise to lead the team. Deputy Public Works Director Larry DeMerchant has many years of paving experience, so he headed up the crew and hopped on the back of the paving machine with another member of the crew who also has extensive machine paving experience. Secondly, we needed a paving machine. Caribou Public Works came to the rescue by allowing us to use their paving machine. Finally, we needed a crew that was willing to work together and give this a try. All of our employees worked together to produce a really nice surface for the bike path that everyone can take pride in.
    The end result was that the Public Works crew paved 4,200 feet of bike path, which was more than double the distance than what was originally planned.
    If you have not been on the bike path recently, be sure to take a walk on the newly paved segments that run from North Street to Allen Street, Pine Street to University Street, and along St. John Street. The exercise will do you good and you will really feel energized knowing that you get to walk on a nice surface that was done at a great savings to you the taxpayer.
    If you have questions on public works issues, please contact the Public Works Division at 764-2560.
    Dana H. Fowler is Public Services Director for the city of Presque Isle. He can be reached at 760-2707 or via e-mail at