As an elected official, Michael Kwartler, the Town of Chenango’s Highway Superintendent understands the importance of keeping costs down and citizens happy. Managing an outdated program, hundreds of pieces of paper generated manually and the lack of accurate historical information was not an option for Kwartler to keep on top of the work performed, manage costs and to be proactive to service request calls.
In 2006 the Town of Chenango decided that PubWorks was the software solution of choice to manage the work of various departments, track tasks and manage their costs.
Kwartler states, “The Town of Chenango Highway Department provides critical infrastructure and climate control responses for the residents and businesses of the area. Maintaining all the town roads, understanding the costs involved, tracking material used and providing good service to our citizens are much more manageable and efficient with PubWorks.”
Joy Kasmarcik, Administrative Assistant to Kwartler says they choose PubWorks based on price and flexibility. The other key factor was the ability to expand the software for use in other departments. “We are expanding PubWorks into other departments and finding that the integration helps with project planning and internal communication. I am able to review service requests documented from other departments which really streamlines our operations.”
PubWorks provides some of the greatest value when it comes to Town Council meetings. With PubWorks in place Kwartler is able to provide detailed cost information and cost breakdowns on various activities for which his department is responsible. Reports can be generated in seconds removing the pressure of not having answers to the hard questions. A heavy snow year can be documented to a specified level of detail such as, increased salt and sand costs, more diesel used and extra payroll costs incurred. “If the Town Council has any questions regarding our budget, I am able to prove the budget is accurately set using PubWorks reports with historical data from prior years.” states Kwartler.
Kasmarcik states, “It is really nice to know what you have done per street.” Tracking a multitude of tasks, how many hours worked, which roads were cleaned, what was replaced and other information is integrated and consolidated in PubWorks. Kasmarcik continues, “Then user friendliness and flexibility kicks in providing the users with the ability to retrieve this information quickly.”
Accurate tracking of materials is another component of controlling costs. “Prior to PubWorks, we had no way to track material used. Now we can better keep track of our materials inventory which saves time and helps us to better manage our costs.” says Kasmarcik.
In addition to the Town of Chenango, the Broome County Emergency Office also benefits from the information tracked in PubWorks. The project feature of PubWorks allows the Town’s Highway Department to track immediate disaster responses in monetary terms before, during and after cleanup. Documentation and estimates are usually needed in a short time frame for the Preliminary Disaster Assessment (PDA) and PubWorks makes that happen.
Kasmarcik states, “I am able to quickly plug the FEMA equipment cost codes into PubWorks, generate the estimate of damages, summarize all the costs involved with the disaster as well as attach documents to the project such as photos.”
Reports from PubWorks are accepted by FEMA and the clarity of the reports eases the reimbursement process.
When a disaster strikes, all activities, manpower, equipment and materials associated with the clean up are tracked using PubWorks projects. Kwartler adds, “One disaster can eat up your whole budget so it’s critical to get reimbursement. Easy access to this information through PubWorks Project Reports expedites reimbursement from FEMA—key to being good stewards of public funds.”
PubWorks also plays a role in complying with state and federal regulations. PubWorks produces reports required for inspection audits by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation which manages MS4 regulation. The PubWorks GIS MapViewer module provides important information on Storm Water Maintenance. “The MS4 regulation requires us to improve our infrastructure every year. We use the MapViewer to depict where our new storm drains, catch basins and outflows are installed. Having the ability to collect this data and to rely on its accuracy helps us meet compliance requirements.” states Kasmarcik.
The MapViewer also provides value in routine Town maintenance. The Map selection features enable Kasmarcik to look up the history of the Town’s assets by road via a map. With a click of the mouse, information from the date the asset was installed and all maintenance performed is available—easy.
In addition to ensuring work is being documented thoroughly and keeping the citizens of Chenango satisfied is another important aspect of Kwartler’s role as Highway Superintendent. The PubWorks Service Request module pinpoints which areas of the Town generate more citizen calls. This information helps focus the department’s efforts and address issues which may have gone undetected in the past.
Kasmarcik’s thoughts on PubWorks support: “Customer support—it’s spectacular. I can’t ask for better. I get a response when I need it and PubWorks is never too busy to resolve my issues.”