City purchases a mule to help with workloadInfrastructure mapping is made easier for Lake Stevens BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR
Have you seen the new mule that the City of Lake Stevens purchased to help city workers be more efficient? While this mule carries loads like the four-legged kind, this mule moves quite a bit faster and runs on gasoline, making it safer and more cost effective for city workers to get their jobs done.
“If you see the mule we would like for citizens to be safe around it,” Arnie Clark, Senior Engineering Technican for the City of Lake Stevens said. “It becomes the barrier between us and the traffic.”
Currently, Brinda Ward, a Pubic Works employee with the city is using the Kawasaki Mule in the mapping process of the city, a process that includes the mapping of storm drains, ponds and pipes.
“We have to map all of our infrastructure,” Clark said. “We will be using the vehicle to map and to stay in compliance with the Clean Water Act.”
The city will then be able to input the information into a database.
“Once the information is in the database we can find out where there is pollution. Once it’s there it is just maintenance,” Clark said.
The mule, along with a handheld global positioning system, or GPS, will also help the city with a street sign survey, road conditions rating and parks.
“I don’t mind mapping or GPS,” Ward said. “I’m learning right along while doing it and learning about areas and different signage on those areas.”
Ward has been quick learner in the mapping process.
“We are thrilled to have Brinda on board,” Clark said. “She is so sharp with this technical process and is learning really fast.”
The mule was purchased through grants given by the Washington State Department of Ecology. The city is able to save money on staff costs for jobs that usually take two people. Between the tools they would have to carry and the safety issues while on the road the mule is becoming an essential tool in today’s city.
“It really does replace a second person and in a tight budgetary world it is a savings tool,” Clark said.
Mapping infrastructure is now a requirement for every city and Lake Stevens is on the fast track to getting theirs completed.
“Every city in the nation is required to do this, a lot of hired consultants or extra staff to do this,” Clark said. “Lake Stevens has become innovative in finding a way to do this while saving the taxpayers a significant amount of money.”
Watch for Ward and her mule out on the road and give her a wave.