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New Williams Public Works chief emphasizes wastewater, roads
In mid-November, the City of Williams brought on Artur da Rosa to be the head of the Public Works Department. Having most recently served in Oroville as the Director of Public Works and the city engineer, da Rosa brings 27 years of experience to the table, a good feel for the area, and an eye for economic development.
Da Rosa began working as an engineer with Caltrans in 1986 after receiving his degree from Brigham Young University. After 15 years with Caltrans, he began working as an engineer for Tulare County, where he stayed for three years before becoming the assistant public works director and assistant city engineer for the City of Delano. During his tenure in Tulare County and the City of Delano, de Rosa returned to school and received his master's degree in Public Administration. After nearly three years in Delano, de Rosa moved on to Yucca Valley as the Public Works director and town engineer. Two years later, he served in the same capacity in Oroville, where he also spent two years before arriving in Williams.
"The good thing about working for Williams is I feel like I know the area quite well. What the city is looking for and what I had to offer seems to be pretty close. Quite a number of cities would like some development. (Williams) has a lot of needs. When we talked (during the interviewing process), they said that if they could find someone who could help bring in economic development, that would be a big plus," da Rosa said. "Williams has to offer something special and unique that puts them ahead of competitors for attracting economic development."
Da Rosa said that he would love to join the community and move to Williams, but he will have to continue commuting from Oroville for now.
"It boils down to an economic decision," da Rosa said, adding that his family was already established there.
While his experience with bringing development helped land him his current position, his primary role as director of public works will be to manage the city's public facilities and infrastructure.
The most glaring needs in public works, da Rosa said, is to optimize the performance of the city's brand-new wastewater treatment plant and to make repairs and improvements on many of the city's roads.
Currently on da Rosa's agenda is working on implementing an automatic meter reading program. At the Williams City Council meeting on Wednesday, da Rosa received authorization from the council to issue a request for product samples and demonstrations for automatic meter reading products.
There are two general options under consideration. One is installing a tower system — where readings are sent to a centralized location — at a cost of $400,000. The other possibility is a drive-by system, where readings are sent to a vehicle, at a cost of $200,000.
Da Rosa said that about a quarter of the water staff's hours are spent doing meter readings. An automatic meter reading program would allow those hours to be used elsewhere, while allowing the city to see the discrepancy between the water that the city is pumping and what is going through the meters.