Most people have seen members of the City DPW crew at one point or another, but how many really know what it is that their department does? After all, what does the term “Public Works” mean anyways? Well, according to the American Public Works Association, “Public works is the combination of physical assets, management practices, policies, and personnel necessary for government to provide and sustain structures and services essential to the welfare and acceptable quality of life for its citizens.” However, if I had to put it into my own words, I would say that a public works department essentially oversees the proper functioning, care, and maintenance of all City-owned buildings, parks, facilities, equipment, and infrastructure, including roads,
sidewalks, water and sewer pipes, etc. As you can imagine, this is no small undertaking. With a lean crew of only five full-time employees, including the DPW Superintendent, our City DPW has its work cut out for it. But we are extremely fortunate to have a hardworking group of dedicated employees who put that extra bit of effort in everyday to make sure that City residents are receiving top-notch services for their tax dollars. The West Branch DPW is headed by Superintendent Mike Killackey, who has an abundance of experience, and is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the inner workings of the City’s infrastructure. If you ever have a question about a water main or a sewer pipe, he is definitely your man! Mr. Killackey is also extremely dedicated to his position with the City, and impresses me every day with the amount of commitment he displays. The West Branch DPW is also very blessed when it comes to the rest of its crew. Lead Heavy Equipment Operator Jeff Brindley has worked for the department for over five years and on top of being a great operator, also has excellent skills as a mechanic, which really comes in handy down at the DPW garage (which is located at 403 S. 1st St.). Our other two Heavy Equipment Operators—Lucas Tierney, Matt Linsenman and Jason Winter—are all relatively new to their positions as operators. They are showing great promise and seem to be a quick study. Mr. Winter is also keen to learn more about the water operations of the City, including a 175 foot tall 500,000 gallon water storage tank (a.k.a. the “Smiley Tower”), and two 600 gallon-per-minute wells that have to be powerful enough to pump ground water up from a depth of 170 feet all the way up to the top of the 175 foot tall Smiley tower. It is very helpful to have all DPW employees eligible to operate heavy equipment, as many of the tasks required of a public works department require the use of some pretty powerful (and unique) machinery, such as the following: blade truck (a.k.a. large snow plow truck), backhoe, loader, grader, street sweeper, bucket truck, dump truck, sewer jetter, various tractors, and more. Our DPW employees use these pieces of equipment to accomplish a multitude of tasks that you might not even realize that they do—from grave openings to the repair of broken water mains. And I have said it before, but I will say it again because I believe that it is true and worth repeating—“People who work hard to serve the communities that they love should always be appreciated!”—and sometimes jobs like those in the DPW go underappreciated. So the next time that you see a DPW worker, don’t be shy! Feel free to tell them how much you appreciate everything that they do for our community.
|As far back as the late 70's, early 80's the DPW garage was located in the lower level of the building located at 113 N. 1st St. with the Fire Department occupying the upper level. In the mid 80's, the Fire Department constructed a new location on 3rd St. allowing the DPW to take occupancy of the entire building.|
|In late 99, early 2000 the building was vacated by the DPW when they moved to thier current loction at 403 S. 1st St. Although the department moved, they continued to keep the lower level of the building as a City storage facility. Vacating the upper level allowed for the Police Department to take over the space for their department, moving them out of City Hall. In the beginning of 2015, the Police Department was moved to the once Senior Center.|
|In 1999, the City began construction of a new DPW garage at as the department was quickly growing out of space. In addition to this project, the department also had a Salt Barn being contructed on the same location of the new site. Although the DPW have storage facilities throughout the City, the site of the DPW garage is large enough to store most all of their equipment and supplies.