Council requests briefing on snow response
Strategic plan' sought for future storms
Citing complaints about unplowed streets and other snow-related challenges, Prince George's County Council members called Tuesday for a special briefing on the response.
Council members said they want to meet with Public Works Director Haitham Hijazi to discuss the county's response to the two snowstorms that covered the county in more than three feet of snow.
"Everybody is looking to have a discussion of what happened and what could have happened more effectively," said Council Chairman Thomas E. Dernoga (D-Dist. 1) of Laurel, who said the council plans to bring officials in for a briefing "relatively soon."
The request was made by Councilman Samuel Dean (D-Dist. 6) of Mitchellville, who issued the call in a press release this morning. The call for a briefing came the day after residents were asked by school officials to help clear sidewalks and paths to bus stops so that students could safely return to schools when they reopen.
"As many citizens have already expressed, the response to this historic weather event has not been without challenges," says Dean's statement, later adding, "Concerns around questions like what is meant by passable roads,' and why cul-de-sacs are prioritized differently from other streets should be addressed."
Dean said he would like the county to come up with a "strategic plan" for handling future blizzards.
The statements mark the latest declarations by politicians over the snowstorm that closed schools for more than a week and many businesses.
Since the initial snowfall Feb. 5, residents have complained that county and city plow crews failed to adequately clear some neighborhoods before a second front hit Feb. 9, despite county claims that the majority of roads were done.
County officials have said some areas were plowed enough to get through but said a lack of time, salt and crews kept them from clearing the snow down to the pavement.
In his statement, Dean praised residents for their patience and county crews for their work during the storm.
"Most of us were homebound with family and food. How do you compensate for that kind of dedication?" Dean said of the county staff.
Officials have been unable to say how much the snow-removal effort will cost the county. A snowstorm in December exhausted most of the county's snow-removal budget for the fiscal year.