New report shows growth in Brunswick County putting strain on public utilities

New report shows growth in Brunswick County putting strain on public utilities
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 4:07 PM EST
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - A new report shows rapid growth in Brunswick County is putting some new strain on its public utilities department.

The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners heard a presentation Monday from representatives of Raftelis Consulting on recommendations for improving public utilities services as the county continues to grow. Raftelis conducted a study over the last year of Brunswick County Public Utilities based on staff interviews, tours of BCPU facilities and reviewing data in similar communities.

Public Utilities Director John Nichols said he’s seen recent growth in Brunswick County add strain to his staff. Because Brunswick County is so large geographically, it can cause longer travel times for staff and more infrastructure to maintain.

“Certainly during COVID, we were struggling along with everybody else with having enough manpower, and so it’s certainly been an issue in Brunswick County, which is one of the fastest growing areas in the country,” Nichols said.

The company is recommending Brunswick County take the following actions to improve its public utility services:

  • Create a new management position to reduce staff reporting to the director
  • Restructure the Design & Construction Division into the Engineering & Asset Management Division
  • Add an asset management implementor to work on implementing the software Lucity
  • Create a new project manager position to add more support for capital projects
  • Improve communication between leadership and frontline staff
  • Improve use of performance measures from department functions
  • Enhance work planning
  • Assess staffing needs after identifying service standards and implementing work plans

According to the report, the recommendations would likely allow the department to better meet the needs of customers and manage its infrastructure.

“Our organizational assessment will help us determine where we can become more productive and more efficient, and just like any organization our size, we want to look at that on a regular basis to make whatever changes we can make,” Nichols said.

Commissioners were not expected to take any action on the assessment Monday. The full organizational assessment can be found here.