At the Nov. 28 meeting of the Grand Rapids City Council, Public Works Director Jeff Davies delivered a presentation on the city’s response to the Nov. 18 snow storm.
Davies said the storm started out as rain on Thursday, Nov. 17 before switching over to snow on Nov. 18. A total of 18 inches of snow fell on the city. Davies noted that the biggest problem was that the temperature got down to about 10 degrees in the wake of the storm, which created a lot of frozen hard pack on the roads.
Davies said that the city had plows on the roads on the day of the storm with some drivers putting in as many as 11 hours. He added that city crews worked the Saturday after the storm averaging about 12 hours per shift, and on the Sunday after the storm averaging about 9 hours per shift. Davies said that his crews worked 12 hour shifts on Monday and Tuesday and nine hour shifts on Wednesday. No one worked on Thanksgiving Day but six workers returned on a Friday, a holiday for city employees, and worked an average of five hours. Davies said that over the weekend employees worked 342 hours of overtime among 10 full-time and eight part-time employees.
Davies summarized his remarks stating; “I think the storm went extremely well as far as doing the best you can do under those circumstances.”
Mayor Dale Adams asked if the overtime would be reconciled in the current year’s budget. Davies agreed that it would, adding “This will push us a little over budget but not bad.”
Councilor Dale Christy took the opportunity to bring clarity to issues he described as “misconceptions in the community.”
“You guys did work Friday, long days both Saturday and Sunday, and the city was willing to pay overtime,” Christy noted.
Davies agreed adding, “On Friday we worked through the storm, on Saturday and Sunday we worked full days, and paid 342 hours in overtime last weekend.”
The city had both its mechanics working due to breakdowns, Davies added. He also noted that plow drivers could not use the 8-foot wings to compliment the 12-foot plow blades on the trucks due to the weight of the snow, limiting the amount of snow that could be pushed. “We ran out of shear pins for our plows. Blowing snow is a challenge, but we kept going,” he said.
In other business, the council:
• Entered into an agreement with the City of Cohasset to assume joint ownership of the Range Line Road between US Highway 2 and the Hawkinson gravel pit.
• Approved the verified claims for the period of Nov. 8 to Nov. 21 in the amount of $766,801.17.