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Jefferson, Lewis counties highway program wins national award

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In what has been a seemingly never-ending winter, Ernest L. Prievo can now easily track how much time has been spent on snow plowing in the village of Carthage and how much sand and salt has been used, as well as determine the labor costs associated with the work.

That’s because Mr. Prievo, the village’s water superintendent, has been using some new operations management technology that shares highway data among Carthage and 14 other municipalities in Jefferson and Lewis counties. The system is called the Joint Infrastructure Management Initiative.

The 15 municipalities have worked together for the past four years to improve management of their highways and other assets.

Using GPS units, the municipalities can keep better track of water, sewers, storm water, signs, bridges, signals, labor, equipment and materials.

In an effort to become more efficient and cut costs, they also can share, store and view data, reports and forms using shared servers and a web browser.

And now Cartegraph, a leading provider of operations management system technologies, has honored the project. The JIMI project is one of 10 municipal organizations in the nation that Cartegraph selected for its first ever Excellence in Operations Management award.

Mickey D. Dietrich, GIS Specialist for the Tug Hill Commission, said he was glad to hear that Cartegraph found that the 15 municipalities were working smarter and improving their communities.

“Every day, they’re finding new uses,” he said about officials involved in the program.

Established in 2010, the Joint Infrastructure Management Initiative project obtained a $704,000 state grant to help the municipalities store, share and view data to help reduce costs and redundancy.

In addition to Jefferson and Lewis counties and Carthage, Croghan, Denmark, the village and town of Lowville, Martinsburg, Adams, Alexandria, Champion, Clayton, LeRay, the town and village of Philadelphia and the village of West Carthage also are involved in the program.

Four years ago, Transmap Corp., Columbus, Ohio, used vans equipped with high-definition video cameras to digitally map hundreds of miles of roads in the municipalities. As a result of the Cartegraph system, the JIMI project gives the municipalities Internet-based access to the information that was gathered, Mr. Dietrich said.

Through the project, 1,379 miles of roads; 20,100 signs; 5,755 culverts; 1,491 storm water sewers; 1,024 hydrants; 832 manholes; 416 water valves, 410 bridges and nine meter boxes were recorded. If something goes wrong with them, the municipalities know about it immediately, Mr. Dietrich said. Such information can be used to create tasks and work orders, he said.

The system is capable of doing such small tasks as recording vehicle identification numbers or as complicated as helping municipalities figure out detailed costs for in-kind services when applying for grants.

Mr. Prievo has used it to track overtime costs for snow plowing this winter in Carthage, he said.

“It’s been a long winter,” he said. “It will help us budget for next winter.”

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