February 29th, 2024

seward county logoROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times


Workers in all of Seward County’s departments routinely maintain much of the equipment and buildings the government entity has, but sometimes, even a few tasks go undone, leading to issues with maintenance.

The county recently put a program in place for what leaders are referring to as deferred maintenance, and Administrator April Warden said that term could also be used simultaneously with the phrase “maintenance backlog.”

“It’s basically repairs to our assets and infrastructure that got delayed or rescheduled mainly due to limited resources,” she said. “Sometimes, that could be in workforce, but most of the time, it has to do with budget.”

Put simply, Warden said these maintenance tasks must be completed to avoid issues.

“Eventually, we get to the point we are at now where we have to get them done to avoid safety issues or continual breakdowns or more damage because they’ve been delayed for so long they can no longer be ignored,” she said. “The courthouse is a perfect example of that.”

The deferred maintenance program is part of a new maintenance plan implemented by the county utilizing software called PubWorks.

“We have defined goals and criteria we have put into place now,” Warden said. “We’re assessing our current condition and needs. We’ve evaluated our options and are trying to prioritize projects and put a plan together for how we’re going to budget for those for now and for future years so we can keep ourselves out of the current state we are in.”

Warden said the goal of deferred maintenance is to lengthen the lifespan and take care of what the county has.

“It’ll lower the risk of breakdowns, further deterioration, promote health and safety and save money in the long run because it will hopefully improve efficiency once we get everything where it should be,” she said.

Warden added by incorporating the PubWorks software, county officials can likewise track expenses, labor hours and inventory that has either been recently purchased or is already on hand.

“It’s going to help us track that better and to have an overall plan everyone can utilize, and that goes along with succession planning as well if you have somebody coming in who can easily look at all that,” she said.