Message from the Director
Our Public Works Department experienced a busy year in FY 2014-15. We examined our business, technical, and operational practices and achieved accreditation from the American Public Works Association, placing us in a very exclusive group of cities that have successfully undergone this process. We looked at our financial model and implemented changes that will ensure a structurally balanced budget for the coming years. The results were savings in both expenditures and staffing levels while still meeting our mission requirements, including achieving our goals for pavement maintenance and capital project delivery efficiency; completing several community inspired efforts under the Neighborhood Partnering Program; connecting our schools and transit stops through the installation of new, compliant sidewalks; staffing all of the warranted crossing guard locations and collaborating with schools to create safer routes to school; and completing major street rehabilitation projects on Harris Branch Parkway and South Lamar Boulevard. Significantly, work was completed on Water Treatment Plant 4, helping Austin Water ensure a safe and secure water supply for the next several generations. Substantial progress was also made on signature projects including the New Central Library, the Waller Creek Tunnel, and the MoPac Mobility Bridge. We also hosted the annual conference of the Texas Public Works Association, introducing over 300 professionals from the around the state to the City of Austin.
Public Works counts the following milestones, among many successes, that support the core principles for action in the City’s Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan. Sustainment of road quality, neighborhood and arterial street reconstruction (including the new roundabout on the Todd Lane project and filling in the downtown grid with work on 2nd Street, 3rd Street, and West Avenue), and transit connections enabled us to grow as a Compact and Connected City. Completion of the Auditorium Shores Trailhead and the Adelphi and Cherry Creek community gardens helped to Integrate Nature into the City. Advancement of our Neighborhood Partnering Program, supporting the City’s minority and woman-owned business enterprise program, our work with high school and college interns, and our oversight of the installation of citywide fiber networks Provide Paths to Prosperity for All. Continued training of over 45,000 school children in safe walking and biking practices and development of partnerships with several schools under the Safe Routes to School Program helped us to Develop as an Affordable and Healthy Community. Improvements to our utilities’ systems, including the ongoing construction of the Waller Creek Flood Control Tunnel, support of Austin Water’s Renew Austin Program, and the employment of recycled and warm-mix asphalt practices Sustainably Manage Water, Energy, and other Environmental Resources. The ongoing construction on the New Central Library and completion of City Hall renovations provided new places for us to Think Creatively and Work Together.
Public Works embraces the concepts of sustainability and innovation that characterize our community, evidenced by: Designing City facilities to meet LEED™ certification; adopting the Green Roads Sustainable Rating System; incorporating and expanding the use of recovered materials into its operations by using recycled materials, warm mix-asphalt, and reclaimed concrete; and developing new reporting tools promote higher levels of accountability and transparency in our operations.
Finally, Public Works is committed to your satisfactory customer experience. Every call, every email, every experience you have with us is important. Our obligation to work for you every day lies at the core of our operating philosophy. Remember, “Public Works Connects You – All Around Austin!”
Howard S. Lazarus, PE, PWLF, CME
Public Works, Your Department with a Heart!!!