Thursday, August 14, 2008

Garrett Roads Department to Implement Cost Tracking Program

courtesy Republican News

Aug. 14, 2008

The new general superintendent of the Garrett County Roads Department, Jay Moyer, presented an update report to the county commissioners on Tuesday. Moyer began his employment on July 21, replacing Fred Polce, who retired at the end of that month.
Moyer said a few changes are being made to the way his department tracks its budget. Nathan Watkins, director of the county's Information Technology Department, has developed a new computer program with the help of Scott Weeks, assistant director of financial services.

"Basically, we're trying to streamline the way data have been entered in the past," Watkins said.

Previously, the entering of such information as purchase requests and project expenditures were the sole responsibility of the general superintendent. Watkins said they are now trying to simplify the data process and spread the workload around, making it more of a "group effort."

Commissioner Denny Glotfelty asked if Moyer would still be ultimately responsible for keeping track of all the data.

"Oh, yes," Moyer said.

But the superintendent added that he wants more participation from the Roads Department foremen and their people so that they can also track expenditures and requests at their garages.

"I think it helps for the persons who are making that request to also understand that there is a limited amount of money in the budget for certain things and that they are aware of what they're spending," Moyer said. "I think it helps them understand that there comes a point when you have to curtail spending, or at least slow down your spending, because there is only X amount of money in the budget to spend."

The county Roads Department is divided into three service and maintenance areas: Accident, Grantsville, and Oakland garages. Each garage is under the supervision of a foreman who receives direction from Moyer.

He and the foremen meet every Monday morning to review projects from the previous week. A report is then forwarded to the commissioners.

Weeks noted, however, that it will be several days before the commissioners can receive information through the new tracking system, as data have to be transferred to the new software program.

The superintendent and commissioners discussed recent increases in fuel and materials. Moyer said costs will be watched and paving projects adjusted accordingly. The officials noted, however, that safety issues and high traffic areas should be considered in that adjustment.

Moyer reported on several Roads Department projects. He noted that the 10-week Swanton bridge initiative was one-third completed. Various paving and patching, shoulder work, grading, mowing, and culvert projects are also under way throughout the county.

The Garrett County Roads Department is responsible for the upkeep of approximately 680 miles of roads and 127 bridges. This includes the design, management, and construction of county roads, bridges, and associated structures.

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