Budgeting for the Unknown

Budgeting in any line of work can be very challenging.  It becomes even more difficult when you cannot see what you are budgeting for.  Most water and sewer assets are buried in the ground. Out-of-sight and mind of most people.  More often it is easier to monitor the condition of the city’s above-ground assets, like structures and pavement.

Some assets in the Public Utilities Division, such as our water tower, pressure reducing valves (PRVs), and pumps can be monitored, inspected, and repaired more simply because they are easily accessible to our crew.  Other major parts of our system, such as pipes and valves, are sometimes left in the dark for management and engineers to evaluate.  Factors that play into future plans for these assets include performance, cost, coinciding projects, and the expected life of the assets.  Balancing all these factors while also trying to assess the current condition of an asset you cannot see can be a huge challenge.

Rest assured, the City of Auburn Hills, the DPW, and the city’s engineer, OHM, are all committed to building the best plan moving forward.  Currently, the city has a Capital Improvement Program (CIP) that spans from 2020-2040.  Although these plans are always in flux, we will strive to keep our infrastructure updated and modernized for the future of our city.

Jason Deman, Manager of Public Utilities, Department of Public Works

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