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Public works staff meets with community to showcase equipment and answer questions

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara City Public Works department has made itself available to answer all questions related to public works duties in Santa Barbara through a special outreach effort.

It is part of National Public Works Week.

The crews were in De la Guerra Plaza from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The department says school children and community members were invited to see the equipment and the people behind the services of Public Works.

This year’s theme is “Ready and Resilient.”

Camila Velazquez, a student from Notre Dame school came with her class. They were interested in projects that clean the beaches, parks and overall community trash.

She says they have learned "how bad it is in our environment, how bad it can damage our life and animals.  It's not that hard to clean our earth and to say thank you to all the people that help us ."

Santa Barbara Public Works Director Cliff Maurer said, "we are committing between $14-plus or minus a million or so a year to recapitalizing our roads." He says in the long run maintenance expenses will be reduced by having a better road system.

A new wave of funding has come in through the voter-approved Measure C. That passed in November 2017. It took affect in 2018, and increased the sales tax one-percent specifically for infrastructure projects. Those include roadwork, sidewalk repairs and capital improvements.


Santa Barbara Mayor Randy Rowse said, "on top of that we have some big projects coming up like the library plaza,  De la Guerra plaza where we are standing right now and eventually the police station so public works is moving. They are one of our departments that's the most active right now."

Community members are often the first to call when they see potholes in their travels.

Public Works employee Tyler Medearis repairs potholes daily. He said, "sometimes they are filled in the  same day of the calls or within days of them calling.  Some of the potholes typically will  pop out from the rain or form around where the past pothole was formed."

In the field when they are working around the city the workers often talk to the public about their project.
Medearis said, "city workers are doing a lot of the major work.   We enjoy the public relations as well."

When it comes to hearing from the public whether it is a compliment or a concern Maurer said, "whether it is on line, go to the city's website the public works  page  give us a note, we'll  respond, or give us a call."

The department also had a new phone list printed on special cards for the public to keep nearby. It listed numerous contacts for assistance including street services, abandoned shopping carts, illegal dumping and leaf blower complaints.

The City of Santa Barbara’s Public Works Department says it has over 300 employees who maintain and service:

·         2,500 streetlights

·         20,000 roadway signs

·         1,200 sidewalks

·         99 miles of storm drains

·         300 miles of sidewalks

·         93,000 water customers

·         312 miles of water lines

·         256 miles of pipes

·         3,300 parking spaces

·         467 City fleet vehicles

·         79 miles of bike infrastructure

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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