LIBERTY — Brian Hess, Liberty’s director of utilities, is resigning to take a new position in Gulf Shores, Alabama, as the general manager of Gulf Shores Utilities Board. His last day will be Aug. 19.
“I have been with the city of Liberty for 21 years,” Hess said. “I became utilities director in October 2013. Prior to that, I was in the public works department including some time as city engineer.”
Under Hess’ watch, in early April 2017, the Liberty Utilities Operations Center and wastewater treatment facility opened in southern Liberty. The project is valued at $78.3 million and marks the largest single investment to the city’s infrastructure to date.
Citizens approved a bond issue in August 2013 and by September 2014, was working with Goodwin Brothers on the design-build process. Hess was able to work with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to secure a low-interest State Revolving Fund loan, which will save an estimated $40 million in interest expenses when compared to conventional bonding sources.
During Hess’ tenure, Liberty received a 2016 CDC Water Fluoridation award. Fluoridation is the adjustment of fluoride in drinking water to a level that is effective for preventing tooth decay. The award recognizes communities that achieved excellence in community water fluoridation by maintaining a consistent level of fluoride in drinking water throughout 2016.
Liberty’s Utilities Operations Center and wastewater treatment plant also won the 2017 Design Build Project/Team Award of Merit in the Water/Wastewater category.
“The wastewater treatment plant was the most exciting and one of the largest the city and myself have seen,” he said. “There have been lots of development, lots of subdivisions and the Liberty Triangle. I’ve seen a lot of changes since I’ve been here.”
The move to Gulf Shores is being seen as adventure for his wife and two sons.
“I came across the advertisement and it intrigued me,” he said. “We love the beach and it’s a chance to be right there. The new job is to serve as manager of the water and sewer for Gulf Shores. This is actually separate from the city, but the job itself is similar to what I’m doing here.”
While he is looking forward to seeing his young sons take on this new adventure, he will miss Liberty.
“As far as the city goes, the staff is a big family,” Hess said. “I have gotten to know a lot of people in the city, too. It’s an incredible place.”