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Granite Shoals assesses city response to storm

Granite Shoals assesses city response to stor

Granite Shoals leaders reviewed the city’s response to the winter storm, highlighting what staff did well and also what areas needed more work to keep services rolling during major weather events. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

With the February winter storm in the past, Granite Shoals City Manager Jeff Looney and his leadership team took time to review the city’s response to the crisis.

“(On Feb. 18), I met with the management team and discussed what we did well and what we need to work on,” he told the City Council during its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 23. “None of us are perfect, but we cannot get better unless we know what our problems are.”

Topping the list of what city staff did well was was teamwork. Looney pointed out that workers stepped up to deal with obstacles, even if the challenges were outside of their department.

Next was city employees’ willingness to help residents, such as turning off main water valves or ensuring they got food if needed. 

Looney commended the staff for its efforts and added that he didn’t receive any reports of staff injuries.

However, city staff noted several needs, including getting power generators for the police and fire departments, City Hall, and the water plant and pumps as well as spare radios for communication. 

Looney would also like to gather a list of residents with critical needs as well as “shut-ins” in case of future natural disasters. He also wants to more residents to sign up for Emergency Service Notifications.

Another aspect of the city’s winter response that needs improvement, Looney told the City Council, is wrapping and better protecting critical infrastructure located on the ground. He pointed out other problems, such as the police department’s heating and cooling system as well as its computer system failing. The water plant’s roof was damaged, and several old water lines failed or froze during the winter storm. 

As he recalled the previous week, Looney kept coming back to the same place.

“I have such a good staff, and we have a very good city council,” Looney said. “The effort is to let people know we care. We really do care. We get paid to do a job, but our hearts are in it, too.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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