Council approves creation of maintenance plan for city-owned structuresWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo City Council is trying to plan its maintenance of the nearly 200 structures the city owns, rather than simply “putting out fires” as they come up.
Council voted 9-1 March 17 to develop a standardized 20-year plan for all facilities owned by the city of Toledo. The term of 20 years was specified because roofs — a major expense for any building — typically last 20-25 years.
“This is so basic it’s shocking it didn’t exist,” said Councilwoman Lindsay Webb, chairwoman of Council’s Utilities and Public Service Committee, which met March 11 to discuss the plan.
The 195 city-owned structures include everything from fire and police stations to Imagination Station and park shelters. The list also includes buildings that are no longer used by the city and have no tenants.
“I was really quite surprised to find that we didn’t have that kind of a plan on any of the properties,” Councilwoman Sandy Spang said after the March 11 meeting. Spang spearheaded the effort to bring the plan before Council.
RELATED: Click here for a list of city-owned properties.
“I am bringing this forward as a support to the facilities department so that they have a tool to do regular maintenance on these properties and avoid the kind of large emergency repairs that we often encounter,” Spang said. “We often are not able to fund, in our CIP (Capital Improvement Program), all the projects that need to come forward. There are so many emergency projects, so obviously we need to do a better job of long-term maintenance.”
At the March 11 meeting, Kevin McCarthy, commissioner of facility and fleet operations for the city, said he agrees about the value of a long-term maintenance plan, but wasn’t sure where the funding will come from.
“The CIP is slim this year at best and we do address our needs on an annual basis, and it’s a pretty austere year to get any money for improvements. A perfect example of that is the transportation building. We’ve had a roof report done — it’s sorely in need of replacement. It’s not going to happen this year. That happens to be my director’s (Bill Franklin, director of public services) office — he has an umbrella in it right now.”
After more investigation into the matter, Spang said March 19 that the city’s risk management budget had allotted $70,000 for valuations of the properties. Many vendors doing that valuation work can also assess buildings’ mechanical systems and provide maintenance plans. Spang is hopeful the maintenance plan can be developed for about $100,000.
Spang said she is in favor of having an outside company develop the maintenance plan, as it could do it more efficiently than the city, due to all of the different operating systems in the 195 structures.
Terry Green, risk manager for the city, said there may be $70,000 in grant money available for the city to pay an outside company to perform valuations of these structures, which is key to determining a maintenance plan. He said he believes this same company, which was not named, could also develop the maintenance plan, a dovetailing practice Spang hopes would reduce the cost.
A piece of the legislation states an annual report must be presented to Council, outlining the maintenance completed, as well as which department was charged for the maintenance and the amount spent.
“These 195 structures represent millions of dollars of assets that the citizens own and they have every right to an expectation that we’re maintaining them,” Spang said.
“This is the kind of report that I want to see us have so that we know what needs to be done monthly, biannually, annually to our properties so that we can avoid having so many emergency repairs. … Also, I believe this is going to cause us to take a hard look at the facilities that we own and which ones are appropriate for the city to own.”
After the plan was approved, Spang said, “It’s really a move toward generational change in the way that we take care of our assets. I’m very proud of this legislation.”