Danbury's Public Works Department is proud to serve many of the most important city functions that have a direct impact on the welfare and quality of life of its residents. Staffed with trained professionals and dedicated employees, the Department is comprised of five Divisions: Engineering, Public Buildings, Public Utilities, Construction Services and Public Services (Parks Maintenance, Highway, Forestry and Vehicle Maintenance). Under the leadership of the Director/City Engineer, these Divisions tirelessly provide and maintain the core services that help keep our city running smoothly day in and day out. Transportation systems, clean water, sewage treatment, utilities, public spaces, emergency response operations and essential infrastructure are among the many contributions Public Works makes for the health and safety of our community.
During this extremely challenging year for our community dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, our Public Works team continued to tirelessly provide essential services to our residents along with front line assistance to the city's efforts keeping our residents healthy and safe. Public Works reported to work every day as an essential department and was called on multiple times to help erect temporary structures along with all of the support facilities and utilities required.
The team continues to be one of the most diversified Public Works Departments in the State of Connecticut with an essential work force of over 160 employees. Under the Director, Division Superintendents are accountable for the performance of their departments along with effective, efficient spending of our taxpayers' money. The Director instills respect, integrity and responsiveness to the work culture. These traits represent Public Work's highest priorities to Danbury's vibrant populace. The Director is a hands-on leader, keeping his team on course and motivated in addition to holding high responsibilities and complex support for the Mayor's objectives.
The Director actively serves on many influential boards. He is ESF-3 Chair for Region 5's Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the State Panel for Construction Projects, School Buildings Projects Advisory Council, Evaluation Committee for the Southeast Danbury Rail Study, 2020 Task Force, Association of Housatonic Valley Public Works Professionals and the Western Council of Governments, to name a few. Last year the Director implemented the Wastewater to Biodiesel Student Program at UCONN as part of the major WPCP upgrade. His personal goal is to have his department provide a legacy of long-term, sustainable enhancements for the community, to continue reactive and preventive maintenance and to help Danbury achieve more than is conceivable.
In FY 2019/2020, the Department again operated under tight budget constraints. Funds allocated to perform all their annual programs, maintain all public buildings and schools, maintain all parks, greenways, beaches, playgrounds, school grounds, right-of-way grass islands, maintain all roads and bridges, decorative lights downtown, maintain the multi-million dollar fleet of vehicles and heavy equipment was only 4.1% of the total allocated city budget. The Department pays for all of the fuel other departments use, electric bills for the entire city's street lights, maintenance and repairs for the large fleet of police vehicles and all utilities for our public buildings, exclusive of the schools.
The Public Works Department has the very important responsibility of managing a $13.5 million Operating Budget, in addition to a $10.3 million Water Fund and a $14.3 million Sewer Fund. In addition, the Public Works Department has to manage this year's Capital Project allocation of $80.3 million, as well as managing the existing Capital Project Program balances.
Working with tight funding was again a challenge in 2020/2021. The Department's goal remains for a concentrated effort to continue high quality standards and perform more work with less funding and personnel. The Director continues to be hopeful for recognition of the extreme need and benefit for larger Public Works funding in the future for the greater good, growth and well-being of the community. Until then, dedication to Danbury keeps Public Works delivering the same quality of services as previous low funded years. The Department will continue to be creative and resourceful looking for cost effective ways to perform cyclic tasks and keeping priorities for sustainability, urban ecology and the best quality of life for Danbury's citizens at the forefront.
With operational support from the Mayor's office and other city departments, all Divisions of Public Works had major accomplishments in Fiscal Year 2020/2021. The following is a summary of some of our accomplishments:
- Completed the design and received State approval for the Ellsworth Avenue School Addition. Construction will begin in the summer of 2021.
- The bond has been approved and schematic design started for the Danbury Career Center.
- Road and right-of-way improvements on Grand Street.
- Completion of the Ellen Levy Animal Control Facility.
- New Tertiary Treatment Facility for improved phosphorus removal has commenced.
- Construction of a new Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) Receiving and REA Biodiesel Facility has begun.
- National Arbor Day Foundation designated Danbury Tree City for the 31st year.
- Reclaimed, milled, and paved 10.17 miles of city roads.
- Turf Field Replacements at Kaplanis, Perry, and Danbury High School Fields.
- Danbury Fire Boat Dock has been permitted and completed.
- Design completed for the Basketball Court at Rogers Park.