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11/13/2012 11:14:00 AM
Williams City Manager talks about approach and projects after one year on job
Brandon Buchanan gives state of Williams address at Nov. 1 Rotary Club meeting
Williams City Manager Brandon Buchanan in his office. Buchanan addressed members of the Williams Rotary Club Nov. 1. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Williams City Manager Brandon Buchanan in his office. Buchanan addressed members of the Williams Rotary Club Nov. 1. Ryan Williams/WGCN
Marissa Freireich

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - With a year on the job under his belt, City Manager Brandon Buchanan described the characteristics he hopes to bring to the city in a talk to Williams Rotary Club members on Nov. 1.

His primary goals, exemplified in two city projects, are promoting collaboration among different departments, improving safety and exercising fiscal responsibility.

Buchanan's first project was rebuilding the Cataract Pump House at 7th St. and Railroad Ave.

The old building was a tin shed, now replaced with a brick building.

"Most people don't realize...that every bit of water that comes into this community and goes out to your drinking faucet goes through that building," Buchanan said.

He explained that water from the lakes and wells must go through that building before being pumped to the treatment plant.

Buchanan said rather than telling city staff what to do on projects like these, "it's me now challenging and empowering the staff and department heads and frontline employees to figure what the problem is and what the solutions are."

Six different departments collaborated on that project.

The new building also improves safety. Buchanan said it was dangerous to move parts from the old building and there was a risk of parts freezing.

"Now this building is safe, it's secure, it's insulated and it'll be there for another hundred years without us having to do anything to it," he said.

The second project that illustrates Buchanan's priorities is improvements at Monument Park.

"If you all remember back to what it was two or three months ago it was kind of a sad looking park," Buchanan said.

A major safety issue was tourists and high school students climbing the railroad ties near the Bill Williams statue. Now, the park features numerous boulders and concrete steps. Future plans for the park call for handrails, sidewalks, and the addition of the Veterans Memorial Statue. When finished, the park will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This project not only demonstrates cooperation among departments, but also fiscal responsibility. The concrete was the only cost so far for the improvements since the boulders were left over from the construction of the wastewater plant.

The improved park will also make a better first impression on out of town visitors.

"If that's one of the first things they see, we want them to be impressed from the moment they get here," he said.

Finally, Buchanan strives to be innovative and do more with less. The city recently purchased an 8-foot by 4-foot snowblower, which will be used instead of hauling mounds of snow away in dump trucks. While the snowblower cost more money upfront, it will expedite the time it takes to remove snow.

"I'm actually excited for some snow this year," he said.

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