By CALVIN PYNN
Last week’s winter storm was discussed at Tuesday night’s Town Council work session, as Town Engineer Bill Pedigo gave an update on how the mass amounts of snow impacted town operations.
According to Pedigo, the recent snow event saw a combined 511 hours of work. While the plow trucks were working to clear the roads, he said that one truck wrecked and could still be repaired, while another plow truck was totaled, considering it was an older model.
“Stuff happens, we try to be as careful as we can, but it was running in slick, deep snow,” said Pedigo.
He also said that salt sprayed on the roads was used sparingly, due to a nationwide shortage. The Town has enough brine for one more major snow event, which Pedigo said could get them out out of the bad season, and then later restock.
“We have a good salt house, and we can restock a lot during the summer,” said Pedigo. “The money we’ve spent on a new salt house is really paying off.”
According to Mayor Jeff Worrell, a big problem with this particular storm was that there was snow much snow that The Town didn’t know where to put it. Pedigo added that the snow was deeper than what the current plow drivers have experience moving.
“It’s different to push, it reacts differently, it kind of got ahead of them a little bit,” said Pedigo.
Still, despite the overwhelming circumstances caused by the snow storm, the council all agreed that the town’s plow drivers did an excellent job moving the mass amounts of snow last week.
For the future, council member Joseph Goodman suggested that The Town should work with some private contractors to supplement their resources and get every road plowed in time.
Goodman also suggested that The Town should send their drivers to ride with plow drivers in areas that expect heavy snow on a regular basis for some on the job training, such as parts of West Virginia. Town manager Shawn Utt added that he could reach out to his peers in ICMA to see if there would be any interest for such training in northern areas.
Council member Jamie Radcliffe also suggested that some equipment upgrades could probably be needed in preparation for future snow events, particularly in replacing the scrapers on the trucks.
Chris Phillips, the street superintendent for the Department of Public Works in the Town of Pulaski, was awarded the employee of the month award for February. He was recognized for his work during last week’s winter storm, which was the largest snowfall Phillips had been responsible for in his three and a half years as street superintendent.
As Mayor Worrell present the award, he praised Phillips for his department’s conservative use of salt due to the shortage, as well has the long hours he and the rest of his crew put in to clear the snow from the streets. While the whole department was praised for their hard work teamwork, Phillips was recognized for his leadership and dedication throughout the winter storm.
Other items discussed during the work session included a presentation from Sam Sweeney, who works with the New River Trail State Park, as well as a comprehensive review of debts and finances from Davenport and Associates.