More maintenance?: City eyes improving maintenance efforts

Published 11:03 pm Friday, January 30, 2015

For several years, some Washington City Council members have been talking about improving the city’s maintenance of city buildings and equipment. During the council’s upcoming budget sessions, that talk could turn into action.

Council members believe that improved maintenance efforts would help reduce city expenditures. The maintenance discussion came during the council’s meeting earlier this week.

“In general, I think, our focus, or where I would like for us to be this year is to focus a lot on our existing maintenance and making sure we’re looking after what we own right now because we have some challenges with that, overall, and unfortunately sometimes we tend to want to add the two-car garage on the house when the roof is leaking,” City Manager Brian Alligood said. “What we’ve got to do is make sure we focus on keeping the roof solid. And I know that in itself sometimes offers up come conflicts because people are looking for additional new services and looking for new things. From a perspective of looking after our investments, we’ve go to spend a little more money and a little more time on existing infrastructure to make sure that we protect that investment before we look to too many new things.”

Councilman Doug Mercer responded, “I agree whole-heartedly. We have for many, many years let our facilities degrade when we should have been maintaining them, and we find ourselves in many cases to the point that the facility has degraded itself to the point it’s cheaper to replace it than it is to repair. If we had spent a little maintenance money all along, it would still be there.”

Unfortunately, Alligood said, maintenance is sacrificed during “tight budget situations.”

“I like the idea of getting a plan of what we can take care of, what we’re supposed to take care of and a plan to work it out and not do it periodically but following a plan from one to 10, whatever it is, and get it done because I think we sometimes let things go a little too long and it costs us big bucks at the end. We need to continue working on things the city has and keep them up,” Councilman Richard Brooks said.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike