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National Public Works Week: Learn How the City Runs 
It's National Public Works Week and the City of Knoxville is celebrating with a campaign that includes a City Blog series that will go in depth on the impact of Public Works in Knoxville’s infrastructure as well as follow several employees throughout their work day on social media.

Here's a video of Mayor Madeline Rogero welcoming Public Works Week earlier this week:

In Knoxville, the Public Works Department includes Public Service, Engineering, Parks and Recreation, Plans Review and Inspections and Fleet Services.

"Public Works entails all of the services that should happen seamlessly throughout a citizen's routine day," said David Brace, Senior Director of Public Works. "The men and women in the Public Works Department work tirelessly in often thankless jobs to provide quality services to Knoxville and to keep this city running smoothly."

The Public Works Department represents approximately 525 employees and functions off of an operating budget of more than $90 million and capital funding with an average of $70 million.

The 292 employees in the Public Service Department operate annually on a $35 million budget. Employees in the Public Service department: 
  • annually handle collection and contracts for 4,760 tons of leaves, 25,205 tons of brush, 42,392 tons of garbage, 5,533 tons of recyclables from 55,000 households and 2,333 tons from recycle drop-off centers
  • patch potholes
  • manage all landscaping and mowing services and contracts
  • implement weather response on roads addressing ice, snow, and fallen trees
  • maintain all City-owned buildings and park structures
  • execute minor construction projects such as short sections of sidewalk or curb cuts
  • operate a City-owned transfer station that allows residents to dispose of household items at a reasonable price (33,000 tons processed annually)
In the Engineering Department, 91 full-time employees work under a $46 million combined operating and capital budget through three divisions of engineering specialties:

Civil Engineering:
  • oversees construction of buildings, parks, and sidewalks on City property
  • constructs road realignments
  • manages resurfacing of City roads (75 miles repaved in 2016)
  • handles all right-of-way acquisitions and property surveys for construction projects
  • designs in-house some of the City’s road construction, greenways, drainage projects
  • inspects all capital improvement projects
Traffic Engineering
  • implements all traffic studies for all City streets and pedestrian routes
  • determines sign placement
  • operates a sign shop to produce and install signs in-house
  • oversees traffic signal, parking meter and pedestrian crosswalk maintenance and installation
  • paints all markings on City streets
  • coordinates road detours and closures for special events and projects
Stormwater Engineering:
  • manages all stormwater permitting for construction projects
  • inspects construction sites for compliance with water quality standards
  • mitigates any flooding issues
  • handles upkeep of City’s stormwater drains
  • archives all plats, mapping, and records for construction in Knoxville
  • leads water quality education and outreach within the community
Parks and Recreation operates under a $7.3 million operating budget with 60 employees on the regular payroll and hundreds that work on the athletic payroll (designated for hourly-paid workers, which includes athletic officials, lifeguards, additional staff at the City’s recreation centers, and ballfield maintenance crew members). City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation includes:
  • more than 2,000 acres in 83 parks
  • approximately 100 miles of greenways and trails
  • 12 community centers that offer free After School Program and the Summer Playground Program as well as various fitness and crafts classes for a range of ages
  • 3 senior centers
  • 5 swimming pools (3 indoor, 2 outdoor)
  • 3 public golf courses
  • 3 disc golf courses
  • 5 dog parks
  • 2 skateparks
  • the Knoxville Arts and Fine Crafts Center
  • wide range of athletic leagues serving thousands from youth to senior leagues (over 400 adult teams and 600 youth teams play in more than 5,500 games annually)
  • Golden Gloves boxing program in Chilhowee Park
  • Knoxville Community Band
  • much more
Plans Review and Inspections operates on a $3.6 million annual budget with 41 employees. The department processes an estimated 10,000 permits per year (or 900 per month, or 40 permits per day).

The purpose of the Plans Review and Inspections Department is to promote quality development and preserve neighborhood integrity and safety. The following regulations are enforced by the department:
  • Form District Projects
  • Building Regulations, Alternative Building Code, NC-1, H-1, CBID and Arborist Requirements
  • Zoning and Parking Regulations
  • Sign Regulations
  • Electrical and Solar Regulations
  • Gas, Mechanical, and Plumbing Regulations
  • Fire Regulations
  • Site, Drainage, and Parking Access/Layout
  • Waste Water
  • KnoxPlans/Electronic Review
None of these departments would be able to operate without the support of Fleet Services, who oversees the City’s fleet of 1,400 vehicles and maintains the City’s Vehicle Impound Lot. From squad cars, to fire trucks, to snow plows, to passenger vehicles, Fleet Services makes it possible for all of the City’s departments to go about business throughout town.

Please stay tuned through the end of Public Works week for in-depth articles about Public Works projects and services on City Blog (knoxvilletn.gov/blog) and on social media to follow various Public Works employees throughout their business day:

Twitter: @MayorRogero

Posted by On 25 May, 2017 at 2:30 PM