“City Government 101” is an ongoing series that debuted in April 2023 and highlights different aspects of municipal government as it pertains to Columbus, Nebraska, in hopes to provide information on how the City of Columbus operates.
Every City of Columbus department head was recently asked some questions in regard to their department, the current fiscal year budget and plans for their department in the upcoming fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2023-Sept. 30, 2024).
The Water Utility Service Department falls under the leadership of the public works director. Its division leader is Jake Wacha.
DEPARTMENT: Water Utilities
DEPARTMENT HEAD: Chuck Sliva
(Interview conducted in September 2023)
Q: How many people are in your department?
A: The Water Utilities Department has eight (8) Staff members
Q: How long have you been head of your department?
A: Six years
Q: How do you think things went for your department in fiscal year 2022-2023?
A: Things have gone well. Staff has completed a lot of work related to the water collection and distribution system as far as maintenance and repairs.
Q: What were at least two of your department’s biggest accomplishments in the last fiscal year (and why?)?
1, Bringing all Lift Station SCADA controls online. This allows monitoring of each lift station operations, amp loads, high / low water alarms, start stop run times as well as power fails. 2, Work advancements in cleaning and CCTV inspections of sewer system. This allows staff to maintain and have a more reliable sewer system to better serve the community.
Q: What are some of the problems your department faced in the last fiscal year and how did you overcome them?
A: Supply chain issues and high-cost related to most everything needed. With this being said, staff has had to adapt to modifying and or building parts in house as well as relying on storing of surplus parts and pumps to rebuild needed items.
Q: What are at least three major things you’re wanting your department to accomplish in fiscal year 2023-2024 and how is the new budget going to improve that?
A: 1, That all staff work in a safe manner and go home at the end of each day. 2, Completion needed projects. 3, To complete all operations in a fiscal responsible manner. Hopefully, proper planning of the budget so that we can complete everything within the budgeted amount and meet the needs of the community..
Q: What can the public expect from your department in the next fiscal year?
A: Trustworthy service and to be fiscally responsible with public resources. To supply dependable service that meets State and EPA guidelines.
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