Report on roads, water, sewer, facilities in township
By Lisa Brody
The five divisions which make up the Department of Public Works (DPW) in Bloomfield Township presented their annual report to the board of trustees at their meeting on Monday, July 12.
Katie Fotherby, public works manager, presented the annual report for department chair Noah Mehalski, who was on vacation. She explained the five divisions are administration, roads, water and sewer, grounds and fleet/facilities maintenance. Bloomfield Township is the only township in the state with its own roads division, which by contractual arrangement with the Road Commission of Oakland County (RCOC) since the 1970s, Bloomfield Township maintains the surface of subdivision roads and RCOC maintains main roads and state trunk lines. The road division also maintains the roads for safety.
Fotherby noted that was a more difficult endeavor last fiscal year, as there were 20 winter storm events, they paved 1.5 miles of roads – and budget cuts hit the road division hard, with the contribution they received from the township's general fund reduced from $750,000 to $100,000.
“The budget cuts greatly reduced from the general fund cut our patch paving. It greatly reduced our ability to do road maintenance,” she said.
The main responsibility of the water and sewer division is distributing water to over 16,000 customers, doing emergency repairs, maintaining positive pressure, meter replacement, Miss Dig staking, water sampling, installing new service connections and all maintenance.
“Bloomfield Township did opt-in to the WRAP (Water Residential Assistance Program) program in 2020, and during the pandemic there was water assistance funds to help eligible residents,” Fotherby said.
The maintenance division handles the motor fleet of vehicles and trucks, buildings and grounds. The motor fleet includes fire truck engines, paramedic vehicles, road graders, street sweepers and snow removal vehicles, and all the emergency equipment on police vehicles.
DPW had an active COVID-19 response, Fotherby said. “The township did an excellent job. Staff worked from home, but they responded quickly,” she said.
She said they had been tracking the trash, recycling and yard waste for residences, “and this past year it went up by 10 tons per day.”