AUSTIN (KXAN) Austin City Council will get together again on Thursday to make some major decisions.

Yet almost every other week, District 2 city councilwoman Vanessa Fuentes has been taking the time to gain a first-hand understanding of how taxpayer dollars are put to work.

Recently, she’s ridden along with Austin Resource Recovery workers and the Public Works Department.

Fuentes even took a turn using a jackhammer while watching Public Works employees fix streets.

In this fast-growing area, the city-run department maintains over 8,000 miles of roadway, 2,700 miles of sidewalk, 1,200 bridges and much more.

According to Fuentes, Austin has a relatively small number of pothole repair requests compared to other big cities, thanks in large part to its city workers.

The councilwoman believes she learned a lot throughout her street repair ride along.

“In this instance fixing a pothole, they must cut around it and put asphalt to layer it in to make it smooth,” Fuentes said. “This allows all our residents to have a smooth ride while they’re in their neighborhood or on the way to work.”

Public Works assistant director of street and bridge operations Pirouz Moin was pleased she took the time to watch what his team does every day.

“It really goes a long way to show the city council and the citizens what goes into the maintenance of this huge network,” he said.

Fuentes said experiences like these are critical to her understanding of what the city’s workforce needs to improve Austin’s quality of life while maximizing tax dollars.

Looking ahead, the District 2 city councilwoman has more of these ride alongs with public departments planned in the weeks ahead.