By Cindy Jackson
April 27, 2020
Every month, Nassau County department heads provide a full report of their activities to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).
Keith Ellis of the Building Department, Doug Podiak with Facilities Maintenance and Robert Companion, County Engineer were among the first department heads to present to the BOCC.
Their reports shed some very interesting (and perhaps surprising) light on the impact the Coronavirus has had on county operations.
Keith Ellis, Building Department official, was the first department head to present at a meeting of BOCC held on April 15, 2020.
Ellis reported that while his office was closed to the public as of March 23, 2020, he said “contractors are still working and we’re real busy.” To that end, Ellis reported that his department issued 821 permits in March 2020 – 30 more than in February. Last year at this time, 947 permits were issued.
The turnaround time for the issuance of permits is also down. For instance, what would typically take four to six weeks for a single-family home, these days, as reported by Ellis, it takes just two weeks.
Assistant County Manager Taco Pope praised the work of Ellis and his department noting they have “maintained and kept working. They did not shutdown.”
Doug Podiak, Director of Facilities Maintenance, proudly stated that his department has adapted very “quickly and efficiently,” reporting that while work orders have gone up during the pandemic (much of which is due to beach closures), yet his department has responded positively.
The pandemic has allowed his department to perform a lot of maintenance at beach areas around the County – items like the re-striping of the parking lots at Peters Point, Burney Park and Scott Road in addition to changing fixtures in public restrooms. Said Podiak, “people will see a noticeable difference.”
Podiak also made mention of work about to start at Goffinsville Park, located off Nassauville Road. There, the County will be installing generators which will enable use of that park after dark.
Also shared by the Public Works head was the fact that as a result of the “government shutdown,” his department has been receiving more calls about sidewalk issues along the many hiking and biking trails. Said Podiak,“there are a lot more daily walkers.”
He went on to state that the County now has the equipment to respond to complaints about uneven pavements adding “those issues and have been promptly responded . . . every call.” Also interesting to note . . . solid waste collections are up 60%.