0

Social Circle praises employees for storm work

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Social Circle public works and public safety employees received a pat on the back from city officials for their efforts in keeping local roads and bridges clear during last week's snow and ice storm.

"Seventeen men put in 655 hours between 4 a.m. Sunday and Thursday," City Manager Doug White told the City Council during its meeting Tuesday night.

He said that a number of part-time public safety employees worked nearly around the clock to apply salt and sand to icy roads and bridges.

White asked those city employees in attendance to stand while members of the council and public offered them a round of applause.

While city officials were pleased with the work by local employees, they were not as satisfied with the state's response to the icy roads.

White said he sent a letter to the Georgia Department of Transportation asking for clarification on GDOT's priorities for clearing roads.

"It seemed that (Ga.) Highway 11 got cleared from Newton County to Jasper County and north on (Ga.) 11 in Walton County, including Monroe, but we had no assistance in town," White said. "I sent the letter just for our information because if we're not going to get DOT assistance for our roads, we need to know that."

When contacted by the Citizen, Teri Pope, District 1 communications officer with the GDOT, said that state road crews did clear ice along Ga. 11, including in the cities of Monroe and Social Circle.

"Highway 11 is a two-lane state route with less traffic, so it was a second-level priority," she said Thursday.

Pope said that clearing interstates is GDOT's first priority. In Walton County, U.S. Highway 78 and Ga. Highway 10, which are heavily traveled roads, were next on the priority list.

"We also got more calls and reports of crashes on (Ga.) Highway 138, so that was also a higher priority than Highway 11," she said.

"It took us a couple of days to get to Route 11, but both Monroe and Social Circle were worked during the ice event last week -- they received equal treatment," Pope said.

In other city news, the City Council elected Councilwoman Angela Porter to be vice mayor for 2011. Anne Peppers had served as vice mayor in 2010.

The council also unanimously voted to renew its annual allocation of $6,000 to the Social Circle Boys & Girls Club, along with $1,500 for 15 scholarships for school-year and summer camp memberships.

The City Council agreed to enter into a contract with Honeywell International to make energy-saving improvements to the Welcome Center and Public Safety Building using a $125,000 grant from federal stimulus funds.