MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — So far it’s been the tale of two winters in much of the state.

We are more than a foot below where we normally are for snowfall total right now.

Last year it was a different story. By the end of winter, we were above average for snowfall totals.

But a break from the snow this year doesn’t mean the city is dealing with extra down time.

“Just be glad we’re not Boston today, I guess,” Minneapolis Public Works director Mike Kennedy said.

Or, be glad this isn’t a repeat of last year, when Minneapolis had seven snow emergencies.

They’ve only had one so far this season, which landed right after Christmas.

Kennedy says his snow plow drivers are left with a case of cabin fever.

“They’re here to plow snow. And yes, they would rather be doing that than some of this other stuff,” Kennedy said.

But the beauty of a mild winter is the “other stuff” that they can get done.

“We are doing pothole repairs in the winter time, responding to any type of flooding. We can do a lot of cleaning activities. There are still complaints coming to clear out alleys and do some things,” he said.

Snow removal costs come from the city’s general fund, which also pays police and fire.

About $10 million is allocated each year for snow. It’s possible public works could end up under budget by the end of the year.

But Kennedy knows winter is far from over.

“Even if we didn’t have a single flake of snow, we’d still spend a big part of the budget just being ready — to have personnel, equipment, materials on hand,” Kennedy said.

If they do end up under budget by the end of the year, Kennedy hopes that extra money would stay in-house to be used for things like street repairs.

John Lauritsen

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