Published March 13, 2019


WAKEFIELD — Public Works Director Richard Stinson presented his final DPW budget to the Town Council last night. Stinson announced in January that he will be retiring on June 30, 2019.

The amount requested for the tax-supported portion of the FY 2020 DPW budget is $6,858,201, an increase of $233,513 over FY 2019.

Stinson noted that the budget includes several added positions.

One of the new positions is that of a Construction Inspector in the Engineering Division. Stinson stressed that this position will be mostly, if not completely, funded through inspection fees.

“Currently, we hire an outside contractor to perform inspections on major projects, subdivisions and major developments,” Stinson said. “The contractor is paid through fees and is only on-site for the project that is being worked on. The addition of this position will provide for inspection of the items currently being done by the outside consultant and also provide year-round inspection and documentation of critical infrastructure repairs and installations performed by the WMGLD, Verizon, National Grid, contractors, DPW crews, etc. This will ensure that the work performed meets the standards established by the town.”

Stinson said that the addition of this position will also reduce long term infrastructure maintenance cost through proper inspection, provide for safer work sites, and ensure proper documentation of infrastructure modifications.

“Currently we pay $65 per hour for a consultant to inspect subdivisions and other high profile projects,” he said. “The cost of the Construction Inspector is $31.30. As an example of a project that will be supporting our Construction Inspector position, the National Grid 345KV project will provide $70,000 dollars towards construction inspection.”

The other added position is that of a Contract/Administrative Supervisor. Stinson said that over the past 18 years the DPW has taken on additional and expanding  maintenance related to buildings, athletic fields, parks, roads, water and sewer facilities. The DPW is also required to comply with new and more extensive reporting requirements, new and more complicated bidding requirements, additional regulations such as OSHA, a more complicated FEMA reimbursement program and many other additional tasks.

In addition, Public Works now performs bidding assistance to other departments, such as the Town Clerk, Library, Fire Department, and others. Stinson said that these new regulations and responsibilities are severely impacting the ability of DPW to meet and comply with procurement deadlines, reporting deadlines, and other functions. The addition of the new position will also position the DPW to better compete for grants.

Stinson noted that in the 1980’s the DPW Administration Division consisted of nine staff and today with substantially more responsibility the staffing level is six. With the addition of the Contract/Administrative Supervisor position, the Administration staffing level will be at seven, still less staff than in the mid-1980’s.

Stinson noted that several other areas are being addressed in the FY 2020 budget. These areas include uniforms and clothing, training, safety equipment, and software licenses.

Stinson said that the uniform and clothing line is being reduced by $17,775. He explained that this is due to a portion of the the previous uniform allowance being rolled into the wage rates of employees. Stinson said that the amounts that remain in the uniform and clothing budget include additional funding for safety clothing to insure compliance with OSHA regulations. (As of February 2019, the Town must comply with all OSHA regulations.)

Stinson said that accounts for training throughout the budget have been increased for fiscal year 2020 to facilitate compliance with OSHA regulations.

Safety Equipment accounts throughout the budget have been increased by $8,250 for fiscal year 2020 due to the required compliance with OSHA regulations, Stinson said. This account provides for items that must be changed regularly, such as: hard hats, safety glasses, ear protection, respirator filters, protective gloves, dust mask, fall protection, gas meters, equipment calibration, etc. Larger safety items would fall under capital outlay.

Stinson said that the computer software line item was increased by $22,700 because software license fee structures have changed.

The DPW chief also reviewed various other increases in personal services, materials and supplies and purchase of services.

The Town Council approved the FY 2020 DPW budget request.

They also agreed to Stinson’s request to increase the Snow and Ice budget by $50,000 to $850,000.

Additionally, the Town Council approved the proposed $5,589,995 Water Division budget and the $8,627,420 Sewer Division budget.

The Town Council also approved several Public Works-related articles to go before the Annual Town Meeting. The articles, like the DPW budget, were approved and recommended by the Advisory Board of Public Works.

Stinson requested $1 million in a Town Meeting article to supplement Chapter 90 state funds for roadway improvements, but the Town Council cut this amount back to $500,000, which was the amount recommended by Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio.

The Town Council approved Town Meeting article for $125,000 for sidewalk improvements.

Also approved was a Town Meeting article to authorize $1,350,000 in borrowing for drainage improvements in the Grafton Street area.

The Town Council also OK’d a $500,000 Town Meeting article for critical safety and environmental upgrades at the DPW facility on North Avenue.

A Town Meeting article authorizing $125,000 from the Water Division budget for filtration system at the Broadway Water Treatment Facility was also approved.

A $68,000 betterment project was approved for Flanders Lane.