Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been such a mild winter, plows that are usually mounted on city salt and sand trucks are sitting idle, lined up in a row inside a city garage.
Money typically used to keep city streets clear of snow is not being spent, but where does that money go?
According to Mike Kennedy with Minneapolis Public Works, what’s left over goes back into the city’s general fund.
“What we save in the snow budget or expend in the snow budget has to be balanced out with all the rest of the general fund activities: Police, fire and there are lots of other public works things that are funded out of the general fund,” Kennedy said.
For the past two years, the City of Minneapolis budgeted $9 million for snow removal.
In 2010, because of the heavy snowfall in November and December, Minneapolis spent $3 million more than expected.
It was a different story in 2011, and the City was right on budget because the snowfall was about average at around 53 inches.
“What we’re not having to do is do all the back to back shifts, bring people on overtime on weekends and things like that, that’s where it really starts to get expensive,” said Kennedy.
Instead, workers can focus on other road projects and the city’s latest issue — finding out what’s wrong with the Sabo pedestrian bridge.
As for all that salt the City ordered to help ease the ice on the roads, according to Kennedy it doesn’t go bad and can be used next year.
The City is locked in to how much salt it must buy to get a discounted price. If there is no more snow this season, Minneapolis will have to come up with a place to store it all so it can be used next year.