In addition to this column, members are welcome to post their questions in the general forum area of the APWA website at www.apwa.net. There, other members have the opportunity to post their answers directly. We also retrieve those questions with broad appeal for "Ask Ann."
Q: Marc Bruno, a resident of San Francisco, called the office recently asking if we were aware of any studies that had been done that would indicate that manual street sweeping programs were more efficient than mechanical ones. Seems the City of San Francisco has enacted an ordinance which would require the residents to move their cars more frequently than they would like so that the mechanical sweepers can do their jobs. He would rather see the homeless pushing brooms and cleaning up the streets than being required to move his car.
A: As you would imagine, I could not offer Marc much help in finding such a study. While the idea of using the homeless to clean the streets might appear to be a good idea, those of us who work with volunteers, or even community service workers, know that insuring these folks is quite costly and you certainly can't have them working without insurance coverage. I think Marc was really just so frustrated with his city government requiring him to move his car that he didn't stop to think before he called. How would "human" street sweepers get to the debris on the streets without having the cars moved? In most instances, we are looking for ways to increase our efficiency by using the latest technologies and most of today's street sweepers are filling that mandate. But, if you know anybody who has a good manual street cleaning program, let me know. I'll pass it on to Marc.
Q: David Zelenok, Public Works Director for the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado, posed a question recently concerning the need for APWA to prepare a Policy or Position Statement on the issue of Smart Growth. "Should Smart Growth be of interest to public works officials or is it best left to planning and codes departments to resolve all the issues?"
A: The best answer to this question is another question, "Well, should APWA develop a Policy/Position Statement?" Just how much impact does Smart Growth have on water, stormwater, solid waste, utilities, wastewater, transportation, transit, and right-of-way uses? How should we define "Smart Growth"? If you have a strong interest in this topic, we need your help. A Smart Growth Task Force will be formed in mid-July, charged with the purpose of reviewing all the issues to determine whether public works should have a greater role in making Smart Growth decisions. Since many of these developments will have a direct impact on issues our members are dealing with, and particularly with the long-term effect of these issues, the issue should be thoroughly discussed. If you are willing to serve on the Smart Growth Task Force, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (816) 472-6100, ext. 3508.
Q: Jeanne Green, Tarrant County, Texas, has asked, "Are any of you currently valuing Right-of-Way for GASB-34? If so, 1) are you using current market values or the value of the property when it was acquired, and 2) are you valuing it as an economic unit or non-economic unit?"
A: The second phase of GASB-34 reporting standards is upon us! Agencies are still working to find the best method for valuing Right-of-Way when, actually, any method can be used for reporting purposes under GASB-34 as long as the methodology is sound and can be supported. They should be valued at historical cost and are not depreciated since they are considered to be permanent assets.
Using current comparable market value, appraised value, or actual purchase price should meet all the requirements for retrospective reporting of existing rights-of-way. Further acquisitions are fairly easy since a value can be established at the time of purchase.
If you need a resource, the APWA bookstore carries GASB-34 Statement and Implementation Guide, so check it out on our website at www.apwa.net.
Questions are welcome.
Please address all inquiries to:
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625
Fax questions to (816) 471-0405