By Will E Sanders
PIQUA — A day removed from announcing the city’s first-ever snow emergency declaration as a new management style and Piqua City Manager Gary Huff, who has instituted similar declarations at past city administrative positions, called it a huge success.
At 2 p.m. Tuesday before the first snowflake fell and into Wednesday afternoon the city was operating likely a finely-tuned snow plow. The internal emergency status issued by Huff resulted in most city departments operating a little differently than they normally do during inclement weather, which allowed for changes in scheduling and communication between all city departments.
Huff has declared such internal emergencies in the past with success and said one of the reasons why it works so well is, in part, due to scheduling changes of municipal employees during such severe weather.
He said union contracts normally call for a four day notice when it comes to changing work schedules, but under the emergency proclamation work schedules can be changed with more ease.
“It gives departments that may not work around the clock the ability to do that,” Huff said. “It is not unusual in my past experiences to go into an emergency status to have all of the resources needed for when a situation like this comes up.”
Early Tuesday evening snow crews from the public works and sanitation departments began plowing streets and using chemicals to ensure transportation was not disrupted in light of the heavy snowfall that blanketed the Miami Valley.
“It allowed us to keep plowing continuously rather than stopping,” he said. “In an emergency it is important to provide transportation means for people to get though the city. For me it is a typical and logical approach with these types of storms.”
City sanitation trucks, equipped with plows, assisted in the effort of snow removal, too, he said.
“We are trying to use and coordinate all of the resources that we have in the city for snow removal this year,” he said. “They have all done a really great job. … What hurt us last night at 3 a.m. was the freezing rain. It hampered our ability. We were making really good progress until then. It made it more difficult for us.”
The city received an extra helping of salt Monday, but by Wednesday afternoon the city had already used more than 500 tons. The city has approximately 1,500 tons of salt left, but there is still more winter weather to come before spring.
“There is still a lot of winter left and we have to make sure we have enough salt to make it through the rest of the season,” Huff said. “This particular year has been bad.”
He said the city will be getting additional salt in the near future, but is not exactly sure when.
There were no major weather-related incidents handled by the police or fire departments during the winter storm.
Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.