City creates ‘Projects Team’ to help address maintenance backlog

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The tightening labor market has made it more difficult to hire seasonal workers, according to the City of Grand Junction.

In order to address the backlog of projects, they have created a new team, called the ‘Projects Team’.

"It's a good stepping stone for a career,” said Mitch Elkins, Specialty Equipment Operator, Projects Team.

Starting this week, the team of six workers is now full-time employees with benefits.

"I'm really fortunate to have the opportunity to be on the new crew,” said Elkins.

Mitch Elkins has been working for the City of Grand Junction for the past 5 years, this week he starts his new job as part of the team.

"It’s a new challenge, we are going to be doing various different projects,” said Elkins.

The city formed it because of the lack of seasonal workers around the valley.

"Part-time labor, they are not benefited, they will go find a position that has benefits with the improving economy,” said Jay Valentine, Director of General Services, City of Grand Junction.

Over the next two years, the city will hire less seasonal workers but add 12 more people to the projects team. They say it'll save time and money.

"Some of those projects that weren't able to be done in the past that we can catch up and do,” said Valentine.

Things like trail repairs, safe school routes, and parks projects. This week, it’s all about replacing medians on North Avenue from 16th Street to 29 Road.

"We will be moving the old asphalt that was in the center median here. As well as concrete there has been a mix of concrete and asphalt in the medians over the years that has gotten patched in and we are replacing it with some crushed granite,” said Elkins.

The crew will be available at all times especially when work is at its peak with the annual chip seal road maintenance, spring cleanup, and leaf pick up.

Salaries will be paid by reducing the number of seasonal workers, and some people in full-time positions who are leaving.

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