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Hialeah

Hialeah opens new headquarters for Public Works Department

 

eflor@ElNuevoHerald.com

Hialeah has completed a $2 million renovation of the Department of Public Works building on the western side of the city.

Department director Armando Vidal said about 50 employees will work in the building. A second stage will conclude the renovation of an adjoining building for the department’s Water and Sewer Division.

“These offices represent an opportunity to offer better service for the residents of Hialeah,” Vidal told El Nuevo Herald. “But the renovation also will boost the morale of the employees who worked in very old offices for many years. It was time to improve them.”

Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez said the renovated building demonstrates his administration’s efforts to optimize services in the city.

“This is another project to improve service for the citizens of Hialeah,” Hernandez said after unveiling a plaque with Vidal. “This is where we have the most contact with the citizens of Hialeah because this is where we bill for garbage, water and sewer. … At the end of the day, our duty is to be more efficient for the benefit of the community.”

The renovation of the building, 3700 W. Fourth Ave., was carried out by the Link Construction Group, said the director of the Building Department, Vincent Rodriguez.

Commenting on the massive and constant spill of drinking water at a substation on 80th Street and West 24th Avenue, Vidal indicated that it was the result of work to clean out the underground pipes that distribute water treated in a plant opened in October.

“We are cleaning the pipes so they can accept the water from the new plant,” Vidal said. “This is a regular process of maintenance … the new plant supplies all of that area” in western Hialeah.

The plant was built by the Spanish firm Inima at a cost of $100 million, financed by Miami-Dade County and the city with bonds. It now produces 7.5 million gallons of water per day and will soon reach 10 million gallons, the official said.

Vidal also said his inspectors have been investigating the low pressure that the water system in western Hialeah next to the Palmetto began suffering six weeks ago.

“The principal concern was to reestablish the service to the residents of the area and the Palmetto Hospital, and we managed that in a few weeks,” Vidal said. “Now there’s an investigation into what happened.”

He also said that the billing system for water and sewer service was improved three months ago, and he talked about the dismissal of Ivis Valdes, a supervisor who was arrested one year ago for allegedly stealing more than $12,000 paid by about 20 residents.

“The payment approvals that she carried out were not reported with the correct amount, and other supervisors figured this out,” Vidal said. “Our own internal system resulted in the detection of this problem.”

With respect to complaints about problems with water meters in Hialeah, Vidal said his department is evaluating whether to study replacing the current meters with a digital system so that water use in the city’s 54,400 residential, commercial and industrial properties could the monitored in a precise and modern fashion.

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