Rolland White, Chair of the Hot Springs Village Public Services Committee, presented the committee’s bi-annual report on July 20, 2022. After sharing the committee’s areas of responsibility and some of the recent committee tasks. White said the Public Service Department is moving fast right now to help keep the promise made to the community to concentrate on infrastructure maintenance.

Public Service Committee Areas of Responsibility

White said, “The Public Services Committee is a staff committee. The nine major areas the committee works with are:

  • Culverts
  • Ditches
  • Bridges
  • Traffic Control Devices
  • Signs
  • Water Treatment
  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Solid Waste Collection
  • Water and Sewer Line Maintenance
  • Building Maintenance
  • Fleet Operations
  • Dams

Diverse and Expert Committee Members Focus on Various Areas

The committee is comprised of diverse members. Because the type of work the committee advises on requires special licenses, craft skills, or physical labor so the committee does not do much work in the field. Although the committee is fully staffed they encourage applications and the committee makes use of auxiliary members.

Some of the committee tasks are:

  • Making field observations
  • Doing field studies
  • Reviewing operating procedures
  • Evaluating proposals for the Public Services Director
  • Researching options
  • Planning and advising

Public Services Committee Assigned Two Missions

  1. Work with other committees on erosion control
  2. Review of the 7-year Operations and Maintenance Table

HSV Public Services Moving Fast Right Now

White said that “things are moving pretty fast right now in the POA and especially in the Public Works Department. In order to support this fast-moving activity, we reorganized our schedule. At Ken’s [Unger] request, we are now meeting twice a month on the 2nd and the 4th Thursdays of each month.” The 2nd Thursday is a discussion. The 4th is the formal public meeting.

One of the purposes of the discussion meeting is to provide a review of the Public Service Director’s proposals that are due to be presented at the next Board Meeting. It is also an opportunity to review ongoing projects and throw out new ideas for consideration. “The discussion can get pretty intense sometimes,” stated White.

The public meeting is more formal, where Board decisions that affect the committee’s mission are reviewed, and the Public Service Department activities are discussed.

The committee plans to use the 4th Thursday of the month meeting to look ahead to next year and start formulating plans and setting up bids and contracts in the fall so that the Public Services Department will begin 2023 with a running start.

Recent Activities of the Public Services Committee

  • A committee member with water plant operations expertise and Public Services Director, Ken Unger, visited the water plant. It was apparent to the two that the water plant is understaffed as there are only four licensed operators. They cover 21 shifts, 11 tanks, and 7 booster pumps. We recommended there be a dedicated individual assigned to maintenance tasks. White said, “There is no reason licensed operators should be cutting the grass. They should be operating the plant.” The licensed operators should also not be painting industrial piping.
  • There was a preliminary meeting with a vendor that proposed to install electric vehicle charging stations in the Village. There will be more meetings with this vendor and a recommendation will be made.
  • Paving and culvert installation operations were reviewed and recommendations were made.
  • Completed a preliminary review of a draft of the Road Conditions Spreadsheet.
  • Discussion of best practices for regulatory signs. There are over 5,000 signs in HSV and it is a major job keeping them up and determining which signs are needed.
  • Undertaking a best practices survey with other outside entities to understand their water and sewer operations.

Has the Board of Directors Kept Promise to the Community to Concentrate on Infrastructure Maintenance?

White said he has added up the totals of all the contracts and purchases which were approved in the recent Board Meetings. Roughly, they add up to over $2 MM. “This is all infrastructure. If we have been wondering whether we are keeping the promise to invest in infrastructure, I’d say, ‘yes we are.’ There is a lot more coming down the line.”

Report by Cheryl Dowden