City maintenance manages all repair, maintenance, and care of government buildings, public roads, and public parks
City maintenance workers specialize in areas such as road maintenance, building upkeep, signage restoration, and landscaping
The American Public Works Association offers a wealth of resources to support and assist city maintenance professionals
What is city maintenance?
City maintenance encompasses all the tasks related to cleaning, repairing, and maintaining city structures, roadways, and other public areas.
Good city maintenance services help citizens feel safer and prouder of their municipality. They also help attract new businesses to the area and retain existing ones, which provides additional tax dollars to invest back into the local community.
Some forms of city maintenance include repairing roads and highways, caring for public parks, and maintaining government buildings.
Types of city maintenance workers
Although most cities may have typical tiers of employee titles such as maintenance worker assistant, maintenance worker, senior maintenance worker, and maintenance supervisor, the differentiating factor for city maintenance workers is really in the assigned areas.
- Public works maintenance worker: These individuals help build, maintain, and repair roads; care for drainage areas; and install and repair signage. They may need to operate heavy equipment, perform heavy manual labor, and assist senior journeymen in other areas.
- Grounds maintenance worker: These city workers help care for and maintain public parks as well as landscaping for government facilities. They may operate and manage sprinkler systems, repair and clean park structures, and take care of landscaping and lawns. Depending on the city’s location, this can be a seasonal position.
- Building and facilities maintenance worker: These employees maintain city buildings by repairing exterior structures, ensuring utilities are working, cleaning restrooms or other shared areas, removing trash, and working with equipment and tools related to these tasks.
Example of city maintenance
A city has many public areas to maintain, repair, and clean. Within the public works area, streets need to be cleaned, potholes repaired, and snow cleared. The grass needs to be cut, weeds must be treated, and trees require pruning in all city parks and municipality-owned outdoor areas.
Every public building from the county courthouse to the post office requires a maintenance worker to ensure that the electrical system is functioning, that bathrooms are cleaned, and that benches, signs, and structures are in good repair.
For example, the city of Palm Springs has a maintenance and facilities division that cares for all city-owned buildings, two city cogeneration plants, all city-owned parks and downtown areas, street maintenance, and fleet operations. This department maintains everything from building utilities to downtown parking structures and street light maintenance.
Organizations that use city maintenance
- Government buildings: Any government building from the public library to the city/county building requires city maintenance to ensure that utilities are functioning day-to-day. City maintenance workers help with the repair and replacement of equipment and systems as needed and provide cleaning services within the facility.
- Public works: The branch of the government dedicated to public works requires city maintenance workers to handle related work. This may include street cleaning, snow removal, road repair, and sign repair or replacement.
- Parks and landscaping: City maintenance workers are often assigned to the parks department and help with landscaping, maintenance, and repair of outdoor equipment and structures in public areas. Seasonal chores such as grass cutting and weed management are also their responsibilities.
City maintenance certifications and training
Certain city maintenance workers may want to seek certification in their particular areas to advance their careers and become more skilled in their jobs.
- American Public Works Association Certifications: This organization offers several very specific certifications related to public works including certified public fleet professional, certified public infrastructure inspector, and certified stormwater manager. Specialized city maintenance workers may want to seek these designations as well as those who aspire to such positions.
- Certified Maintenance Technician: This certificate is offered by the International Maintenance Institute (IMI). It is available at three levels and includes both education requirements and passing an exam. Re-certification is required every two years and requires documentation of professional growth.
- HVACR Certification: City maintenance workers assigned to government buildings should consider getting this certification that can be earned through apprenticeships with groups such as the Associated Builders and Contractors and the National Association of Home Builders. Candidates are assessed on knowledge about heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and radiation.
City maintenance news and resources
- American Public Works Association: This trade organization offers a wealth of resources including a magazine, links to other related organizations, and a member directory for networking and consultations.
- Association of Professional Landscape Designers: Although this trade association is geared more to professional landscapers, the city maintenance worker involved in government landscaping or parks work may find interesting resources on CAD tools and design ideas.