City of Troy, Michigan, Gains Improved Insight Into Contracting Process

Over the past few years, people and organizations all across the country have had to find ways to cut down on expenses and manpower, without compromising their quality of work. For the City of Troy, Michigan, this was a particular challenge when it came to maintaining its infrastructure.
According to the city’s parks, streets, and drains superintendent, Kurt Bovensiep, “Maintaining the condition of our physical infrastructure is of the utmost importance to the city administrators and citizens of Troy. Even in the leanest of financial times, the city ensured that the infrastructure maintenance was adequately funded in order to stay ahead of the never-ending deterioration cycle that infrastructure experiences.”

While the city has ensured the infrastructure is adequately funded, it was necessary to make tough staffing decisions recently. With a reduced staff and a maintenance schedule that continues to grow every year, the city realized it would have to modernize its methods of managing maintenance activities and take better advantage of time saving features offered by technology. While the city has been managing work activities through the use of work orders and cost tracking for other assets, a more sophisticated solution to aid in cost tracking for transportation assets was needed, especially in managing pavement infrastructure. Troy invests heavily every year into pavement maintenance activities, ranging from a comprehensive sidewalk replacement program, to concrete slab replacement and asphalt crack and joint sealing.

Unlike other asset maintenance activities performed in Troy, the majority of maintenance activities performed on pavement infrastructure is conducted by outside contractors through a bidding process. The by-product of outsourcing these activities was that it made it more difficult to setup and track these costs using traditional tools. Fortunately, the Cityworks Contract module had just the solution to help manage these various contracts. The city’s Information Technology department, who had already worked very closely with Public Works to implement Cityworks service requests and work orders, assisted in developing the necessary workflow and configured the Contracts module to manage these maintenance activities.

The Contract module is an optional feature of the Cityworks Server AMS system that allows the city to set up and manage all costs for approved activities on a per-contract basis. In addition, other essential details about the contract can be documented, such as basic contractor information, insurance specifications, and contractor bond data.

The city initially started with the management of its concrete slab replacement process. With an annual budget of a little more than $3 million, it was no small undertaking, and a good test of the Contracts module. The revamped process worked extremely well and provided several unintended benefits. Once the Contracts module was configured in Cityworks, the new process worked as follows:

The city’s construction manager receives the estimated repairs from the field inspector.

Work orders are generated for each street segment requiring repair, and the construction manager then adds the cost items to the work orders as reported costs.

As the repairs are performed and approved by the city, the cost items’ status is changed to signify its completion and approval. It then becomes eligible to move to the invoicing process.

A release of funds is authorized through an SSRS report, based on the approved work order cost items, and provided to the vendor to invoice the city for payment.

Utilizing the Contracts module not only gives the city a better tool to organize and manage its ongoing work activities, it also provides up-to-the-minute expenses on projects against budgets to avoid exceeding approved contract amounts. In conjunction with the project management features of Server AMS, Contracts has provided the City of Troy with a suite of tools to dramatically revamp the administration of construction projects.
In addition to gaining a better handle on its ongoing projects, the city also gained substantial efficiencies in the invoicing process, significantly shortening the time from approval of work performed to approve a contractor to invoice the city. Now entering its third construction season since implementing Cityworks, with over 4,000 work orders and 7,000 cost activities tracked using the Contracts module, the city has expanded the management of work activities to parking lot resurfacing and sidewalk replacement. To date, over $11 million dollars worth of repair activities have been successfully managed with the help of the Contracts module within Server AMS.

By Alex Bellak, GIS Administrator, City of Troy, Michigan

About Troy, Michigan
The City of Troy, Michigan, is located within the Detroit Metropolitan region and can be best categorized as a residential community with a population of approximately 81,000. The City of Troy is home to one of the largest commercial hubs for the Detroit Metropolitan region and includes over 6,100 businesses, employing over 125,000 individuals.

The City of Troy first implemented Cityworks in 2010. While not new to asset management practices, the city was excited about the opportunities that Cityworks offered for improvement. Prior to implementing Cityworks, the city had invested a lot of effort in modeling its infrastructure within its GIS and had earned a reputation for being progressive in its use of technology to modernize practices in order to better serve the public.

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