The Town of Marana continues to strive toward innovation with its still-developing Asset Management Program.
Reinitiated in 2009, the Town is making use of a software system known as Cartegraph, which was introduced nearly a decade earlier, but sat unused for the majority of that time due to turnover in key government positions.
Now, the software, managed by Town employees Todd Henderson (utilities) and Brendan O’Connor (public works), is more modern, back on track, and proving more effective than ever, which is good news for taxpayers.
The software creates a database of information that allows staff members to make educated decisions about when and where utility and public works maintenance is needed throughout Marana. The database helps keep track of everything from fire hydrants to storage tanks to light bulbs. With this approach, the Town is able to save significant amounts of money by spending less on upkeep than on total replacement of failing utilities and inventory.
As Henderson puts it, it’s “proactive maintenance versus reactive response.”
The savings has been particularly relevant when it comes to pavement preservation, an area staff pays very close attention to.
“Our most expensive asset is our pavement, so we know that we should be designating a lot of our time on that area,” said Henderson.
In one project – the reconstruction of roads in a neighborhood in Continental Ranch – the Town would have saved $335,000 with scheduled treatments as determined by the software, had it been available at the time.
“This would have been about a 400-percent savings if we had done the treatments over time,” said Henderson. “Now that all the roads are reconstructed there, the pavement preservation will go into effect with our software and save us money in the future.”
The savings will be obvious with other utilities too, particularly those that are aging.
“We, at one point, had fixtures around a water main that were starting to fail, so realizing that, instead of having three or four guys out in emergency mode fixing it when it broke, we proactively began to change those fixtures,” said Henderson. “Granted, there will always be emergencies, but the software will put us on a schedule. If you take a water tank, for example, one of those costs $50,000 over the course of 30 years to maintain, but $260,000 to replace. Take that and multiply it by 20, which is how many water reservoirs we have, and the math speaks for itself.”
Given such savings, Marana Public Information Officer Rodney Campbell said he never again expects the Town to operate without the asset management program.
“This isn’t a temporary thing,” he said. “This is here to stay.”
Henderson added that the implementation of the software comes at a good time for Marana.
“The Town’s infrastructure is young enough to get ahold of – it’s not so big that we can’t get our arms around it,” he said. “We will be able to harness our assets with software in a scalable model.”
The Town is currently in the process of marking all of its assets with GPS, which will allow workers to locate them more efficiently, thereby also saving labor time.
The work is not only proving affective, but also comes with a sense of self-fulfillment for those who run it.
“I have a passion for what I do,” said Henderson. “I can look at any citizen and feel justified in what I am doing to make the best use of their tax dollars. It helps me justify my existence, to say that my work truly matters, and that it helps build a plan for Marana’s future.”