‘Conservative system’ of closures aids Shelby County after storm

 

Shelby County assesses costs after winter weather of Jan. 28 and Feb. 12 (File).

Shelby County assesses costs after winter weather of Jan. 28 and Feb. 12 (File).

By GINNY COOPER / Staff writer

As the sun begins to shine again in Alabama, many Shelby County offices are still dealing with the effects from the winter weather of Jan. 28 and Feb. 12.

Over the past month, many Shelby County offices have been forced to close or operate on truncated business hours.

County Manager Alex Dudchock said each department is responsible for the extra costs incurred by the weather.

“Each department will manage their budget within a full fiscal year,” Dudchock said. “Overtime and other costs will be expenses that local jurisdictions just have to bear.”

As for additional expenses such as the pre-treatment of fine stone and calcium chloride the county spreads on roads before a storm is predicted, the county changes the frequency and volume of purchase based on weather patterns.

The cost for additional road materials is “something we’re prepared to handle” Chad Scroggins, Manager of Development Services, said.

Though many first-responders and disaster relief officials put in a lot of overtime during the both weather incidents, the personnel cost difference is minimal due to the “conservative system” of closures on which the county operates, Scroggins said.

During the Jan. 28 storm the county was closed for two and a half days, and during the Feb. 12 storm the county was only closed for only one hour and 15 minutes, Scroggins reported.

Alex Dudchock said it is this conservative system allows the county to stay on track.

“The manner by which we close operations is very conservative. We use forecasts and field conditions to determine if the situation is hazardous,” Dudchock said.

Dudchock credited the county employees with helping to maintain normal operations during the recent weather difficulties.

“We are blessed with great employees,” he said. “When acute weather comes they shine as brightly as on regular days.”