The Herald Bulletin

January 17, 2014

Snow storm cost county $500,000

Anderson spent $370,000

By Ken de la Bastide
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON – The combination of a foot of snow and sub-zero temperatures the first full week of January has cost local taxing units almost $500,000 in an effort to keep the roads passable.

The city of Anderson spent approximately $370,000 on snow removal, mostly in the Street Department and Anderson Light & Power.

Anderson City Controller Jason Fenwick said a lot of the expense was for overtime.

“The overtime is not typically built into the budget,” he said. “Some of the budgets will be a little tighter. Light & Power and the Street Department took the hardest hit. We should make it through the rest of the year.”

Fenwick said the city submitted expenses to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reimbursement of the costs for the first 48 hours of the storm.

Brad Land, commissioner of the Anderson Street Department, said the city went through 900 tons of salt the week of Jan. 6 and an additional 150 tons this past week. The city spent approximately $64,000 on salt.

“We have more salt ordered,” he said. “We’re just waiting on the delivery.”

Land said Street Department employees worked 356 hours of overtime.

Employees with the Madison County Highway Department worked almost 1,500 hours of overtime during the snowstorm that struck the area the week of Jan. 6.

Dan Dykes, administrator for Madison County, said employees submitted 793 hours of overtime and requested 693 hours of compensatory time as a result of the storm.

Highway department employees worked in 12-hour shifts for much of the week in an effort to keep county roads passable.

Commissioner John Richwine said the overtime cost the county approximately $19,000 and the county paid $40,000 to private contractors to assist with snow removal.

Richwine said Tuesday during the Madison County Council meeting that the contractors were hired to push the snow back at road intersections in an attempt for schools to open on Thursday and Friday. All the local school systems decided to close those two days.

The council approved the transfer of $40,000 in the highway department budget from repairs and maintenance to other services and charges.

“The contractors provided additional manpower in an effort to open schools,” Richwine said. “Since that didn’t happen, we will look at the situation in the future.”

Scott Harless, superintendent of the Madison County Highway Department, said the department used 400 tons of salt and 2,000 tons of sand. He said the salt cost $25,516 and the sand cost was $6,000.

“We depleted our stocks,” Harless said. “We have ordered another 300 tons of salt.”

Harry Maginity, communications coordinator for the Indiana Department of Transportation, said the state budgets an average of $35 million per year for snow removal.

He said the Seymour District used 33,000 tons of salt or $2 million during the storm. Maginity said the state has ordered 150 percent of the salt anticipated to be used this year from Cargill.

“This weather is guzzling salt,” Maginity said. “Each snow burst is resulting in the use of salt as the road surfaces go through the freeze-and-thaw cycle."

Will Wingfield, communication director for INDOT, said the actual cost of the Jan. 6 snowstorm will not be known until Jan. 24. He said the state’s two-week pay period ran from Jan. 5 through Friday.

Alexandria Mayor Jack Woods said the city spent $15,000 on snow removal during the week.

He said the costs included overtime and maintenance repair.

“The impact obviously is felt later on in the year when you have unexpected expenditures coming out of an already taxing budget,” Woods said of the impact of the storm on the city’s budget.

Jim Robertson, commissioner with the Elwood Street Department, said the storm costs were significant.

He estimated the department spent $5,000 on overtime, using 50 tons of salt and spent $700 on fuel costs.

Follow Ken de la Bastide @KendelaBastide on Twitter, or call 640-4863.

The preliminary costs for local units of government from the snow storm of the week of Jan. 6. The estimated cost doesn't include needed repairs or maintenance for equipment. Anderson - $370,000 Madison County - $90,516 Alexandria - $15,000 Elwood - $8,745, street department only