The importance that taking care of something along the way seems to be one of those universal truths in life.
In our personal lives we do our best to eat right and exercise — and in the city manager’s world we dedicate resources to preventive maintenance on pipes, roads and waterways.
Maintenance is never as exciting as a “new-build” but unless money doesn’t matter, maintenance matters a lot.
I read that Boston’s snow mountain finally melted off this week just in time for the dog days of summer — but I’m sure like Kent they’re dealing with a lot of other remnants of a particularly challenging winter season, especially potholes.
Kent City Council allocated an additional $600,000 towards street repairs this year and City crews have been working overtime patching the small stuff while we wait for our private paving contractor to arrive in town to tackle the big stuff.
The rule of thumb in the infrastructure business is that for every dollar you spend on maintenance, you save $4 in repair and replacement.
I’d suspect that similar numbers could be found for maintaining personal property as well.
Whether it’s City infrastructure or private homes, finding the money to keep up on routine maintenance is the hard part. That challenge is amplified in a university city like Kent where so many homes are rental properties rather than owner occupied.
Over the last 10 years, the City of Kent has introduced many new initiatives to encourage (or at times compel) a higher standard of household maintenance to promote neighborhood pride.
The City has purchased equipment — and loans it out for FREE — that is typically used for routine maintenance.
We also have experts on the City staff that can offer advice on what needs to be done and how to do it.
When all that fails, we have the ability to issue notices that can lead to fines for dilapidated properties that have been allowed to fall into dis-repair. That’s always a measure of last resort but sometimes it takes a financial incentive to inspire compliance.
I started this blog post on maintenance because I learned that the City’s Code Enforcement Officer has passed the International Code Council (ICC) property maintenance exam and now is a card carrying, certified International Property Maintenance and Housing Inspector.
He’s a maintenance expert with credentials — please take advantage of that resource if you have maintenance needs on your property or properties in your neighborhood.
City Code Enforcement Officer Paul Bauer