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Public Works a ‘jack of all trades’
Council hears update on Public Works activities
water treatment plant
The Great Bend water treatment facility was discussed in a report on the Public Works Department at the City Council meeting Monday night. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

As part of an on-going series of departmental updates, the Great Bend City Council Monday night heard updates on the activities of the Public Lands and Public Works departments. Great Bend City Administrator Kendal started inviting department heads to gives these reports at the last council meeting and they will wrap up Dec. 16.

“I wanted you to hear from departments that you don’t normally hear from,” he said. “I the absence of a full-time public works director, I am filling that void.’

It fell to Francis himself to make the Public Works presentation. He is acting as interim public works director following the resignation of Simon Wiley Oct. 21 after about a year on the job.

“Public works takes on a lot of different faces,” he said. It, like Public Lands, is a “jack of all trades” that steps in just about anywhere it is needed.

Below is a recap of what Francis covered:


• 14 full-time equivalent staff, one part-time superintendent


Eight service persons

Two traffic safety techs

Two mechanics

• 121 miles streets

• 25.17 miles highway

• 17.2 miles alleys

• 26 Miles flood control

• Compost site

• Traffic signals

• Traffic markings/crosswalks

• Snow removal

• Mosquito fogging


“It’s an extensive system,” Francis said of the water lines.

• Eight FTE

Six maintenance

Two meter readers

• 6,600 Meters

• 12 Wells

• 89 miles of pipe 

• 589 Hydrants

But, he said the system is aging, as shown by recent leaks. More repairs are going to be needed.


Eleven FTE

Four treatment plant operators

Six collections personnel

One Lab tech

• Class IV Treatment plant – 3.64 million gallons per day

Spring flooding far exceeded that daily total and caused some damage to manholes and other infrastructure, he said. But, overall, it held up.

• 21 Lift Stations

• 76 miles - sanitary sewer

• 38 miles - storm sewer

Property Maintenance Enforcement

• Two FTE, one PTE

• Mowing/spraying at lift stations, wells and various other city properties.

• 2018 Statistics

1,254 complaints

549 Abatements notices sent

114 abatements performed

1,044 citizen compliance, meaning these folks took care of their property before it had to be abated. This was a positive, Francis said.

220 automobiles brought into compliance


• One FTE

• Construction inspection

• Geographic information system (GIS) mapping and other mapping

• Permits

Sreehitha Kadiyala, the city’s assistant engineer, was severely injured in August when she was hit by a pickup while walking across the street. She has not been back to work since, but should return soon.

With her absent and Wiley having resigned, some tasks are lagging behind, Francis said.

In 2019

• Streets

• Pot holes patched

• Street evaluations made

• Storm drain repairs made

• Water/wastewater - the project to replace 45,000 linear feet of water line was completed.

• Leaks in water lines addressed

• Flooding addressed

• Property maintenance undertaken


• GIS mapping done

For 2020

• A Capital Improvement Plan, Equipment Replacement Plan and Stormwater Drainage Plan are in the works. All are part of the city’s new long-range strategic plan.

• Utility Rate Study is underway.

• Wastewater supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. The SCADA system is essentially a distributed computer system that is used by operations and management for remote process monitoring and automation.

• Lift station rehab

• Streamline property maintenance codes

• GIS expansion

Used dump truck meets Street Departments needs

Money saved will fund street brining system for next winter



When it came to purchasing a new dump truck for the Great Bend Street Department, waiting turned out to be a good thing, City Administrator Kendal Francis told the City Council Monday night.

In August, the council reluctantly approved the purchase of a new dump truck at cost of $141,895 from Midwest Truck Equipment. But, Francis put a hold on that while city staff looked for better, less costly options.

They found the used truck at Doonan Peterbilt of Great Bend and Francis said city personnel have inspected it and it meets all of their requirements. It has 350,000 miles, but these engines can reach 1 million miles, especially with the limited use it would see in a city setting.

It also comes with a snow plow and sand spreader.

So, the council Monday approved the purchase of a used truck at a cost of $46,000.

Francis said the savings will allow the city to pursue the $35,000 cost of establishing a brining system. This will allow crews to pre-treat streets with brine prior to snow and ice storms starting in the winter of 2020.

The city’s dump trucks double as snow plows, and are used to spread sand.