(KMOV) – City officials in Warrenton say they will pay for city employees’ hotel bill during a severe weather incident.
The mayor of Warrenton, Jerry Dyer, said he knows some people won’t like the idea of using tax dollars this way. But he also agreed he wouldn’t feel comfortable knowing there were Warrenton police officers behind the wheel of a cruiser or a city employee manning a slow plow, working long hours on little sleep.
When parts of the St. Louis area got about a foot of snow earlier in January, many employees were putting in long hours with very little time off.
"We had some of our people stranded here couldn't get home and if they got home we were afraid they couldn't come back or make their way back,” said Mayor Dyer.
Some ended up sleeping on the floor of the police station. The director of public works slept on his office floor while other worked 12-hour shifts and were then able to take a break.
Dyer said supervisors were on duty basically 24/7 during the snow storm.
“Our public works director probably lives 45 miles away. He can't take a chance on going home and not being able to get back or maybe not even able to get home so we have to provide accommodations so he's able to do his job," said Dyer.
He said these days; things have changed compared to years past. Rural roads are in much better shape and SUVs and 4-wheel drives are commonplace. People live further from work and commute.
The city is still trying to hammer out a new policy. It would probably call for two people, the mayor and director of operations, to make the call on when the city would provide rooms for employees.
Dyer said there’s a board meeting on Tuesday night but the proposal would not be ready by then.
The board is expected to vote on it during the February meeting.