FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Christina Strong
Newaygo County Road Commission builds community support through innovation and collaboration
Lansing, MI – The Newaygo County Road Commission (NCRC) is spot-lighted in the current issue of Crossroads magazine for its efforts to creatively support the local community while becoming more efficient at the same time.
When longtime NCRC employee Kelly Smith took over as manager of the road commission in 2000, he began looking to local community organizations to strengthen Newaygo’s operations, and to better serve the community.
NCRC has found new community partners in a number of innovative ways, which were highlighted in the new summer issue of Crossroads, the magazine of the County Road Association of Michigan.
In one example of community collaboration, NCRC struggled to find reliable certified plow drivers to bring on staff to keep roads safe during the winter months. With flat to declining road revenue, Smith couldn’t afford to keep the drivers on staff the rest of the year. The road commission found a creative solution in the nearby office of the Newaygo County Drain Commission, the staff of which mostly worked only spring through fall.
The road commission was able to train three drain commission staff members as plow operators. These three drivers return to the road commission every winter, providing year-around job security for the employees and reliable, affordable operators for the road commission, Smith said.
The Newaygo County Road Commission also connected with area agencies through a self-service fuel facility constructed in 2009. Equipped with an 18,000-gallon diesel tank and an 8,000-gallon gas tank, the facility is an ideal fueling site for the road commission’s 54 vehicles and the vehicles of the local municipal departments of public works, fire departments, police, schools and other government entities.
The road commission charges a small amount above its cost for the gas or diesel, generating combined savings to the local partners of about $393,000 from 2009 to 2015.
Local law enforcement in Newaygo County has also partnered with the road commission, by storing larger SWAT and emergency response vehicles in a secure NCRC location.
In another move toward efficiency, Newaygo is utilizing the engineering expertise of the much-larger Kent County Road Commission to fill gaps in its own staff. The cross-county partnership has yielded other benefits for Newaygo, including combined bidding on some projects.
“The Newaygo County Road Commission is an example of an outstanding Michigan road commission, which is creatively working to find new efficiencies and networking with public partners – while still focusing on improving the transportation infrastructure system across Newaygo County,” said Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association of Michigan.
The 83 members of the County Road Association represent the unified, credible and effective voice for a safe and efficient local road system in Michigan, collectively managing more than 73 percent of all roads in the state– more than 90,000 miles and 5,700 bridges— the fourth-largest county road system in the nation.