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Winter weather last week cost the city $18,000
Numbers may increase as crews address damage caused by ice
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Gainesville's Public Works Department is getting a handle on how much last week's snowstorm cost the city - just in time for another to hit.

The city's street division, which drew help from the public utilities, parks and recreation and golf course departments, clocked about 294 hours of overtime and spent $18,000 in supply and equipment expenses.

The dollar figure doesn't include the full picture of employee costs just yet, Public Works Director David Dockery said Friday.

"Part of what is still outstanding is personnel costs because we haven't figured out how we want to look at it," he said. "To figure the true cost of the storm, you have to look at how the city offices were closed yet some employees were paid inclement weather pay and others were working quite a bit of overtime."

The $18,000 includes the gravel, salt, snow chains and snow truck repairs that built up over the week.

"We're not talking about the colossal figures that the (Georgia Department of Transportation) had, but we have 140 miles of streets versus thousands of state routes," Dockery said. "The numbers are still coming in for other departments who helped street maintenance. It was an ‘all hands on deck' situation last week."

Numbers will keep rolling in as crews address the damage caused by the ice, such as potholes and broken sidewalks. It's also hard to add the cost of catching up this week, he noted.

"One issue we faced this week was doubling up on manpower to run the solid waste schedule on Monday and Tuesday," Dockery said. "We added 10 additional staff to help solid waste, where we had solid waste guys doing street maintenance last week. We just have to shift resources during these special circumstances."

David Kimbrell, Hall County fire chief and director of emergency management, is helping to calculate the county's expenses associated with last week's storm.

He said Friday the numbers aren't yet complete.

Officials are also keeping an eye on the weather forecast, which could include a small snowstorm on Monday. On Friday afternoon, city and county emergency crews participated in an online update about the possible flurries.

"The precipitation should peak Monday night with temperatures remaining at or near freezing. The worst case scenario for Northeast Georgia is 2-4 inches," Kimbrell wrote in an e-mail. "They plan to have another webinar Sunday. I will send out that information as it becomes available."

During the Jan. 9 storm, city and county road crews and public safety officials met at the Emergency Operations Center on Crescent Drive to determine how to address the icy conditions. If weather predictions worsen for Monday, crews will meet there again.

"I spent that Sunday night and Monday morning there, and it became an emergency command center for how we should best allocate resources," Dockery said. "I've been to a couple of drills and weather briefings there, but this was my first emergency operation out there, and the city and county staffs seemed to work together very well."


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