Chattooga County Public Works has received high marks for the response to the winter weather this season, but it comes at a price. Georgia counties and municipalities are not used to having to deal with large amounts of snow. The effort to keep roads clean and passible cost a good deal of money.
Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winters told AM 1180 that fuel and overtime pay consists of a large part of the bill for keeping the roadways clean. The commissioner said, "Overtime varies by when a storm comes in. The first two storms were expensive in that the first happened in the evening and we had to call everyone in. The Christmas Day storm, we had to pay overtime plus holiday. The last storm we had overtime for Monday morning early but the rest of the week we had our crews staggered throughout the day to limit the number of hours our guys were having to work in a row and it saved some overtime."
SInce the storm which crippled the Atlanta Metro area, many state leaders including Governor Nathan Deal have metioned the idea of using private contractors during weather emergencies. Commissioner Winters did just that in the last storm – utilizing three local contractors: Randy Patty, W.D. Patty and Jack Brewer. The commissioner said, "it is important to note that the reason we needed the private contractors this time was the amount of snow accumulation but also because we had two days of sub-freezing temperatures following within 48 hours of the storm. If we had not hired contractors to help we would probably still be froze in."
According to the commissioner if you combine all three major snow events from December 20, 2010, December 25, 2010 and January 11, 2011 – the county has spent around $38,000. The commissioner broke the numbers down like this:
|Dec. 20||Dec. 25||Jan. 11|
|Overtime||$ 1,500.00||$ 3,500.00||$ 3,500.00|
|Salt||$ 2,750.00||$ 2,750.00||$ 2,750.00|
|Fuel||$ 500.00||$ 500.00||$ 1,500.00|
|Private Contractors||$ –||$ –||$ 19,000.00|
|Total||$ 4,750.00||$ 6,750.00||$ 26,750.00||
Surrounding governments are reporting much higher numbers for snow removal. WQCH in LaFayette quoted David Ashburn, Walker County Coordinator as saying that Walker County’s snow removal bill would be close to $150,000.00. In neighboring DeKalb County officials have said that the cost will be in the "10’s of thousands of dollars."
Some information from WQCH and The Fort Payne Times-Journal