LETTERS: Gwinnettians did their part to stay safe in the snow

I would like to thank Gwinnett residents for staying off the roads as much as possible during last week’s snow event.

By staying home, you allowed road crews to work day and night to keep major arterials and collector streets passable for essential travel. Because of that, emergency vehicles were able to respond to calls and police were not overwhelmed by minor accidents. I am proud of the hard work performed by our employees who responded to snow-related emergencies as well as those who kept our water system and other essential services running — our transportation crews, fire and emergency services personnel, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, correctional officers, utility workers and countless others.

I’ve lived in this area all my life and can’t remember a time when snow and ice shut us down for as long as it did this past week. Below freezing temperatures and no sun for days made icy road hazards persist.

We do not yet know final costs for county supplies and overtime payments to address emergency services and major roadways — but those costs will not address the nearly 1,000 miles of neighborhood streets that kept school buses and garbage trucks from even attempting their usual rounds, nor will they come close to the overall cost to county government as a result of the storm.

However, I know the county cost to address the storm is insignificant in comparison to the losses suffered by the community and local businesses, which is why I want to know what we can learn from this experience. Buying more plows is not feasible because of the staff and operational costs they would require. We would hardly ever use them, and they are expensive. But maybe we need a better way to use private companies and their equipment on an on-call basis. I vow to look into all of our options to improve mobility during winter weather events.

— John Heard

District 4 commissioner