Reporting John Lauritsen
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The lack of snow may be costing some businesses a lot of money, but it is having the opposite effect for many cities.
A dry November and December will likely mean that Minneapolis and other cities state-wide will actually finish the year with balanced snow budgets.
Something that was unthinkable at the beginning of the year.
“If we had gotten just a normal snowfall, just a normal December, we are anticipating being a million and a half dollars over budget,” said Steve Kotke, director of public works for Minneapolis.
However, that hasn’t happened. And as a result, Minneapolis could finish the year with a balanced budget.
Kotke said it’s a mini-miracle considering that the streets were hammered with snow and ice in January, February and March. In fact, there were eight snow emergencies during the last snow season. An average winter has about three.
A year ago, all 60 of the city’s snow plows were working overtime. This winter, they sit in the city’s garage. Most of the trucks don’t even have a plow attached.
“We are right on schedule with all our maintenance. That doesn’t happen typically every winter,” said shop foreman, Matt Bjorge.
City workers are finding time to work on trucks and even on street repairs. All while saving the city money on fuel, salt, sand and overtime.
“When we do have to have all hands on deck and out there plowing to get all the snow off the street in three days, it is a lot of overtime. So, we’ve saved a lot in overtime,” said Kotke.
The good thing is this snow emergency grace period has allowed the city to catch up, which means they are now more than ready for whatever January brings.
“Let it snow. We’ll take it. We’re ready,” said Bjorge.
Kotke said this is good for the spring time, because there will be less potholes if this weather continues. In fact, they can fill some of those potholes now while they wait for snow and ice.
Any money saved can go towards street projects, or it can be saved for next December.